Get Your Rear in Gear 5k; Running for Calvin Runnels

Published: April 12, 2012

At the beginning of the fall semester, I experienced the loss of my uncle, Calvin Runnels.  Calvin was not only my favorite uncle but, my mentor and one of the biggest supporters of my education at Wake Forest University School of Divinity.  Calvin was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer in May of 2010 at the age of 44.  He courageously battled this disease for 15 months, eventually leaving behind his wife and his 4-year-old son, Hasting.

This past weekend, about 25 of us gathered for the annual Get Your Rear In Gear 5k Run/Walk.  The mission of the event is to raise money and awareness for colon cancer with the mantra that colon cancer is “preventable, treatable and beatable.

The 25 of us included Calvin’s wife, Pamela, his son Hasting, co-workers in the Department of Pastoral Care at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, close friends from Virginia, New York, Winston Salem, and even five students from the Divinity School community.

The rain was a bit discouraging at 8 am. However, after we got started the sun began to peak out through the clouds and we enjoyed the time of fellowship and purpose.  Those of us who walked spent much of the time laughing and reminiscing about the fun times with Calvin.

This effort was kicked off the previous week in Chicago, the hometown of Calvin and I.  Team Calvin-Chicago was led by students of my mom and Calvin’s sister, Gail Tennial, at Morgan Park High School on the southside.  They raised approximately $900 and with the contributions made this week in Winston Salem, we reached a total of almost $3000!

I’m grateful for the support that the community has provided during the early stages of the grieving process and their continued support.

Jonathan Michael Tennial (“JT”)
Second Year