Everyone runs for Erika | VailDaily.com
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Everyone runs for Erika

Geraldine Haldner
Eagle River Firefighters Ty Odle, left, Jodi Pratt, and John Willson assisted in the Bailey Wild Fire south of Denver.
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On Friday, close to 100 runners of all ages thought good thoughts for her and struggled – some less than others – along a 3.2-mile course around the school, raising almost $4,000 to help the Gonzalaz family with mounting medical bills.

Gonzalaz, who has been hospitalized in Denver since October has woken up from a coma and is breathing without a respirator, the cheering crowd was told before setting off on the beautiful and mercifully flat course through Maloit Park.

“She is very shy and a beautiful young lady,” said Kyle Hageness, the school’s athletic director, who organized the benefit event for Gonzalaz. “We want her back.”

Christina McCann, the girl’s English as a Second Language teaching assistant, said she wasn’t surprised by the turn-out.

“Erika is very sweet and very popular. All the other girls talk about her all the time,” she said.

With the help of the Gallegos Corporation, which donated $1,000 as well as T-shirts, and FirstBank, which gave $500, the school’s pupils and staff hope to raise as much as as possible to help own of their own.

“We want to write one great big fat check to her family to help with whatever they need,” Hageness said.

Donations will be accepted by the school for another two weeks. Checks should be made out to the Minturn Middle School PTA and can be dropped off at the school.

For more information call 328-2920.


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