When participants line up for the 7th annual McKenzie’s Run Nov. 19, they will do so while honoring another local teen.
The McKenzie Noelle Wilson Foundation recently partnered with the family of Griffin Moody, a Ponte Vedra Beach teen and Nease High School graduate who died in a car accident in September, to fundraise for a newly launched Griffin Moody Scholarship Fund. The fund, created in Moody’s memory, will provide scholarships for seniors graduating from Nease High School. The McKenzie Noelle Wilson Foundation will help support the fundraising efforts by donating a portion the run’s registration fees to the scholarship fund for each participant who signs up under “Team Griffin.”
According to foundation Director Adrian Gibbs, the collaboration was proposed just over a month ago after a mutual friend of the Wilsons and Moodys met President Stephanie Wilson. Moved by the Moodys’ story – and understanding all too well the pain of losing a child – ideas began to formulate quickly.
“The Wilsons immediately knew that they wanted to help,” Gibbs said. “They thought the run was the perfect avenue to help not only raise funds but also to help them raise awareness and, in effect, help the Moodys along in the healing process.”
When the call came, Griffin’s father, Ken Moody, was elated.
“(The McKenzie Noelle Wilson Foundation) knew of the foundation we’d set up for Griffin and wanted to help, so they reached out and offered assistance,” he said. “And we were just very happy and very grateful that they did.”
In keeping with the foundation’s philosophy of bringing light onto others, Gibbs said the Griffin Moody Scholarship Fund was right in line with the help the foundation provides.
“It’s honestly less of a partnership and more of an extending of a hand of help in the family’s time of need,” she said. “Since our organization is very much involved in education, it just made sense. It was a natural fit and the Wilsons didn’t think twice about it.”
For the Moody family, which has been reaching out to Nease students and community members to join their team, the reaction has been equally rewarding, Ken Moody said. The show of generosity and “amazing support” from the community has made him hopeful for participation.
Above all, he has been grateful for the chance to commemorate the life of his son -- and he is hopeful that his memory will live on through the help the scholarship funds will provide for other students.
“The reason for establishing the fund at all was just ... as a legacy for Griffin,” he said. “To do something good, and so something good could come out of this tragic accident; to create a worthy and lasting legacy and help (Nease students) pursue their college dream.”
To register for the 7th annual McKenzie’s Run, visit www.mckenziesrun.org. Donations for the fund can be sent directly to Nease High School, made out to “Griffin Moody Scholarship Fund.”