Jordan Rahn 2021 Forever Young Run

Claudia Loucks
Lola and Ryan Rahn, Atkinson, stand by the kayak to be awarded to a participant in the 2021 Jordan Rahn Forever Young Run on Saturday, Aug. 28. The annual event is in memory of their son who died in 2013

Ryan and Lola Rahn have never stopped mourning the loss of their son, Jordan Rahn, but they have turned their loss into a way of helping children in foster care.

The annual Jordan Rahn Forever Young Run is a result of the tragedy that claimed the young life of Jordan Rahn, who died unexpectedly in October of 2013 at the age of 19 while playing football with friends.

Proceeds from the upcoming seventh annual Run, in memory of their son, will be used to benefit children in foster care, including Foster Hope, which was founded by the Rahn couple in April of 2017.

The event was not held in 2020 due to guidelines in place as a result of the pandemic.

The 2021 Jordan Rahn Forever Young Run is Saturday, Aug. 28, and is planned in conjunction with Atkinson Heritage Days, which are Friday, Aug. 27, and Saturday, Aug. 28.

New this year, a race participant who is 18 years of age or older, will be given a choice of a kayak or $300 cash. There also will be bikes awarded to one boy and one girl who participate in the Run and are at least 12 years old or younger.

The prizes are awarded by random drawings.

Free family activities are planned in Veterans Park after the race as well as a beer garden and live music at the post race party with music by Quad City musician – Jef Spradley.

Lola Rahn said since the first Jordan Rahn Run was organized in memory of their son, she has heard comments from race participants about how they enjoy the signs of encouragement along the race route.

Since it began in 2014, the Run has raised approximately $20,000 for Royal Family Kids Camp and purchased several Chrome Books for college-bound students in foster care,

Some of the funds from a previous race were used to pay for riding lessons at Sol’s Legacy, Rahn said. Sol’s Legacy in rural Atkinson is a program using horses to help children.

As a result of that first run, Rahn has been able to connect with several foster care parents and she and her husband started a foster parent support group, Foster Hope that meets in Foster Hope offices located in the former Atkinson Grade School, 107 South State St. The couple also hosts several appreciation events for foster families.

Foster Hope is a 501-c3 non-profit organization and Rahn said, “Our mission is to educate, inspire and support the foster care community. Educate by providing a place for foster parent trainings, including CPR classes; Inspire by providing a place for our support group meetings; support by being able to meet the immediate needs of a foster family after they receive a child in their home such as providing them with diapers, clothes, cribs and other necessary items.”

“The support we have received has allowed us to double Foster Hope space,” she said. “This additional space, located in Geneseo, allows us to provide necessary items for teens that are aging out of foster care and their needs include bedding, towels, and pillows – everything they might need to begin independent living.”

“We now have a retail donor partnership with Bed Bath & Beyond in Davenport and that has really helped us to support the teens that are going off to college or starting to live independently,” she said. “We periodically receive new items from the Davenport business that we can distribute through Foster Hope.”

Their own experiences led the Rahn couple to sponsor a memorial run in honor of their son and to use the funds raised from the event to help children in foster care.

“Jordan had a heart condition, Cardiomyopathy,” his mother said. “He was passionate about life, a fun-loving competitive natured young man with a wonderful sense of humor that drew people to him.”

She said in his youth her son participated in several 5K/1 mile runs and also ran the Bix 7 when he was nine years old.

“Perhaps what Jordan did best was to be an awesome big brother to the many foster children who were in our home through the years,” Rahn said, and she explained she and her husband have been foster parents for 29 years.”

“We have had over 50 foster children in our home, some only for a day or two and others for months or even years,” she said. “We are especially blessed to have adopted two of our five children from foster care.”

“The Jordan Rahn Forever Young Run is not just a Run, it’s a ‘movement,’” she said. “When Ryan and I started foster parenting 29 years ago, we felt like we were the only foster parents in the area. It is great to see so many local young families answering the call to foster care and to help them get connected with each other. We are also passionate about raising awareness for the need for more foster homes.”

Rahn shared a quote she likes that states, “Not everyone can be a foster parent, but everyone can help a child in foster care.”

IN A SIDEBAR

REGISTRATION INFORMATION

Race information: Jordan Rahn Forever Young Run – Saturday, Aug. 28, 5 K at 8 a.m. and one-mile run/walk at 9 a.m.

Where: Veterans Memorial Park, Atkinson. Registration: Online at www.jordanrahnforeveryoungrun.org Forms also available at Atkinson Casey’s and at L&J Home Town Markets in Atkinson and Annawan. More information available on face book at Jordan Rahn Forever Young Run.  Race director: Katie VanAntwerp.