CEDAR FALLS — Cedar Falls veteran Taylor Morris has again proved himself unstoppable — and the fundraiser he and wife Danielle created is unsinkable.
So is a courageous little Jesup boy and his family.
Despite a near-record flood last weekend, the Morrises’ GlowStick 5K run went on, but in a different location.
When its traditional site, Gateway Park, was inundated by floodwater, the run “flew south,” so to speak — to South Prairie Lake of Prairie Lakes Park.
“We had an amazing turnout this year,” Taylor Morris said. “With the last-minute change in location and all of the flooding, we weren’t sure what to expect. As we should have expected, though, our community rallied once again, and came out in full force to support the cause and light up the night.”
The Morrises have sponsored the run — where participants deck themselves out in glow-in-the dark glowsticks for the run — ever since Taylor, a Navy explosive ordnance disposal expert, lost portions of all four limbs in a bomb blast in Afghanistan. It’s their way of giving back to the community for all the support they received, by donating proceeds from the 5K to a worthy cause, selected by online voting.
This year, Taylor said, “Reed Havlik, from Jesup, took home the $10,000 our supporters raised, and will be applying it toward a $1.5 million research study being conducted on the Vanishing White Matter disease,” from which 3-year-old Reed suffers.
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He was featured in a Courier article this year and also was named a University of Iowa Hawkeye football team Kids Captain through University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.
Reed’s parents, Jesse and Erika Havlik, cried when they heard the news.
“We are so blessed and honored and thankful to Taylor, Danielle and all the sponsors for putting on this amazing event,” Erika said. “We couldn’t be more grateful for all that participated in the event, voted for Reed and believed in him and our quest to find Reed a cure.
“Taylor and Danielle will have a special place in our hearts and have made a huge impact on our Reed and our family,” Erika said.
“There was quite a few inspirational nominees with some amazing and heart-wrenching stories, right here in the Cedar Valley,” Taylor Morris said. He encouraged people to check the website www.glowstick5k.com and offer any support where possible.
Taylor Morris was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart for the engagement in which he was injured.