ST. MARYS — Each year, a St. Marys woman laces up to run in memory of her mother and support a cause close to her heart.

The ninth annual “Bunny Hop 5k for Brain Aneurysm Awareness,” held traditionally the day before Easter, will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 20 at Benzinger Park in St. Marys.

Taylor Frank was 17 years old when she lost her mother to a brain aneurysm rupture.

“When my mom passed, we felt really lost and dumbfounded,” she said. “We had no idea what an aneurysm was.”

The family found out how common it really is — one in 50 people have an un-ruptured aneurysm.

“We think if we would’ve known sooner, she could’ve been saved,” Frank said. “After finding out how many people have been affected, we needed to get the word out to the community.”

As a teenager, running became a release for Frank, she says, and a way to cope with everything that happened. During her senior year of high school, she saw other 5k races do well, and decided to start her own.

The Bunny Hop 5k, benefiting the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, brings in many runners for the cause, Frank said, with at least 400 during the lowest year, and 700 for the highest. Last year, the event raised $109,000 for the BAF.

“It’s pretty incredible,” she said. “Our community is just not like any other. People are really generous.”

Some people there will just hand Frank a check for $500-$1,000, she says.

Several families who also have lost someone to the same thing make a point to attend each year, Frank said.

“It’s therapeutic for us to get together and share our experiences, and for me to share who my mom was,” she said.

Runners also leave with pamphlets of information and brochures.

Frank, who is also an Intensive Care Unit nurse with Penn Highlands Healthcare, said what she does today has a lot to do with her story.

“The nurses who cared for my mom were phenomenal,” she said. “It really made me want to become one.”

With Penn Highlands Healthcare incorporating neurosurgery, there will be the ability to help more people like her mom, Frank says, which brings her a lot of peace.

For more information, visit www.give.bafound.org.

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