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Run for Adela nears the finish line, but its legacy lives on through CCF charitable fund

April 8, 2019 by Abigail Darlington


The Run for Adela may be heading into its 10th and final race on Sullivan’s Island in mid-April, but its legacy of supporting charitable causes in the Lowcountry will live on in perpetuity through Coastal Community Foundation.

The annual race on the beach was established in 2010 in memory of Adela Holmes Cook, a young Charleston native who passed away in 2009 from injuries sustained in a golf cart accident while vacationing in the Bahamas.  Adela’s family and close friends wanted the race to foster community in a place Adela loved while raising money for causes that would honor her legacy.

By setting up a fund at Coastal Community Foundation with the race proceeds, the Cook family has ensured that the charitable impact of the event will continue long after the runners cross the finish line one last time.

Factoring in estimates for the final race, the Run for Adela will have raised $500,000 for local charities over the past 10 years. At the request of the Cook family, the Foundation has awarded $200,000 in grants to Camp Happy Days, Ronald McDonald House and the Charleston Waterkeeper. Funds also provide tuition assistance for a child from Meeting Street Academy to attend Charleston Day School for sixth through eighth grade.

These causes were special to Adela and her family in various ways. Adela attended Charleston Day School prior to high school at Bishop England. Since she died at such a young age, it was important for the family to support the school and other programs supporting children and teenagers.

Camp Happy Days now hosts Adela’s Extreme Teen Weekend, where teens battling cancer can come together to create friendships and share their stories. At the Ronald McDonald House in downtown Charleston, there is now a playroom named after Adela for children to enjoy while staying at the facility.

“We are honored to partner with individuals, families, companies and organizations like the Run for Adela to match the causes they care about with community needs,” said CCF Stewardship Officer Helen Wolfe, who manages the Run for Adela fund.

The Town of Sullivan’s Island has memorialized the race and Adela’s legacy with a new bench at Sullivan’s Island Nature Trail at Station 16.

We recently had a chance to speak with Adela’s mother, Jane Stoney Cook, to get her thoughts on the race coming to an end and its impact over the past decade.

Jane Stoney Cook, Adela’s mother, and her son, Charles, Adela’s brother, organize the Run for Adela each year.

CCF: What do you think will be your greatest take-away after holding this race for 10 years?

Jane: In a word it has been amazing.  We are so thankful to have raised two amazing children. We didn’t realize what an amazing community of friends we had until they naturally were there to support us in every way.  The Run was created from a supportive group of Adela’s friends, her brother, Charles and his wife, Lauren.  The involvement has allowed us to work together to benefit ill children in our community and those who needed educational financial support. Each of our goals are met and surpassed each morning on the beach at The Run for Adela.  Our greatest take-away is being thankful that so much can be accomplished for the benefit of others while helping us.

CCF: Why did you decide to place the run’s proceeds in a fund at Coastal Community Foundation?

Jane: All my adult life I have admired Coastal Community Foundation and how they have supported our community.  Their professional advice is much appreciated, and we are confident that with their guidance, the money we have raised in these 10 years will continue to generously give in the years to come.

Why was it important for you, your family and close friends to honor Adela and others you’ve lost through charitable giving in the Lowcountry?

Jane: The Lowcountry meant so much to Adela.  She was raised to give back to the community through her school years and church involvement so it was only natural to continue using our energy to better others locally.

The final Run for Adela will be held at 8:30 a.m. on April 13, 2019, at Station 16 on Sullivan’s Island. Prizes will include bicycles, a weekend getaway at Wild Dunes Resort and gift certificates to restaurants, shops and other local businesses. For more information, visit www.runforadela.com.

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