Each June, runners gather to remember Ryleigh Meree Stegall, a young girl who was diagnosed with leukemia when she was three. The Butterfly 5K run/walk usually has about 700 participants from all over Tennessee.
The race is a project of the Butterfly Foundation founded in October 2007 in honor of the Wayne County girl. Ryleigh passed away in September of 2007, and the foundation now helps families who have children with life-threatening or life-altering illnesses.
With Ryleigh’s medical treatments, she was unable to attend public school. She and her Nana, Dean Stegall, had school at home for four years which included countless hours walking and enjoying nature. It was during those walks that Ryleigh’s love and fascination with butterflies began. This passion helped her family decide what to name the foundation they created in her honor.
Ryleigh Meree Stegall would have graduated high school last May, and runners acknowledged her with a special tribute in 2015.
To participate in the 2016 Butterfly 5K run/walk, visit thebutterflyfoundation.info. The event takes place on June 4, 2016 at 8 a.m. at City Park in Waynesboro, Tennessee.