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Emotion-Packed 2nd Annual Jalen & Breanna Thayer Memorial Run/Walk Recalls Lives, Plans For The Future


(June 10, 2012) -- In an emotion packed morning recalling two children from a single family lost to brain cancer and vowing to help other families facing such unimaginable challenges, the 2nd Annual Jalen & Breanna Thayer Run/Walk drew students, families and friends to Patrick Henry Elementary School on Saturday morning June 9.

The entirely grassroots organized event, created by parents Lance and Jennifer Thayer, is named for their daughter Breanna, diagnosed with brain cancer at age 3 (passed away in 2005 before reaching school age) and their son Jalen, a straight-A scholar and All-American athlete at Henry Elementary and Newcomb K-8 Academy. After seeing his sister pass from the disease, Jalen faced the same diagnosis entering in his teens. On March 31, 2011 with the entire student body, teachers and staff present and Jalen in a wheelchair, Newcomb Academy named its athletic field in his honor. Six days later, he was gone.

Breanna and Jalen

Mr. and Mrs. Thayer have since created the Have Faith, Be Strong Foundation, its name reflecting Jalen's way of conducting himself. The group's Facebook page (click here) says funds raised at Saturday's event will benefit the two schools that Jalen attended (Henry Elementary and Newcomb Academy). The group says it's in the process of establishing non-profit status and 501(c)(3) federal tax exemption status and at Saturday's event, it was announced that Have Faith, Be Strong Foundation organizational paperwork has been received by Sacramento.

Lance Thayer, who was a coach at Millikan High School before receiving a notice of potential layoff last year, spoke eloquently at Saturday's event. To hear his words, click here or click video icon below.

Lance Thayer addresses the crowd alongside his wife, Jennifer

On-site registration was brisk.

"Have Faith, Be Strong" T-shirts helped raise funds. Nearly every one was sold by midday.

Memorial collages recalled the lives of Jalen and Breanna

Two flames memorialize Breanna and Jalen. The flames were lit by a Torch, carried by family members led by parents Lance and Jennifer, in a run just after dawn from Newcomb Academy to Henry Elementary.

Men line up for their 5k

Women and co-ed walkers begin their 5k run/walk.

Runners completing their races each received a "Have Faith, Be Strong" wristband.

Fay Tracy, a now-retired Newcomb Academy teacher, was among the volunteer organizers/coordinators and served as MC for medals awarded t to the fastest runners.

Medals were awarded to the swiftest in multiple categories...

...who also received cheers and applause.

The Thayer family also lost their ELB home amid the crushing financial costs and has relocated to the east coast but returned to Southern CA specially for the event. was the only LB media outlet visible at the event and webcast the day's proceedings live.

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