‘Be Kind’ 5K Race In Memory Of Billquist Scheduled Saturday

Photo of Rosemary and her husband, Jamie, at one of her many marathons she ran in.

FALCONER — For six months, family, friends and co-workers of Rosemary Billquist have planned the Be Kind 5K to celebrate the life and memory of “Rosie” Saturday in Falconer Park.

The event was created to celebrate Rosie’s innate kindness and create a lasting memory of her work at UPMC Chautauqua WCA. Jamie Billquist, her husband, created a scholarship to help her co-workers who are studying medical record and transcription training to honor the work she did at the hospital.

By race time Saturday, the event will have become three fundraising events in one. The race, walk will benefit the scholarship for employees of UPMC Chautauqua WCA in Rosie’s honor. Additional funds will be raised for the Be Kind 5K by the Shults Auto Group Drive 4 UR community fundraiser. The Auto Group’s Test-drive a Ford vehicle event will take place on East Mosher Street near the Falconer Park based Be Kind event.

The third dynamic fund-raiser is being supported by Be Kind 5K to help Mallory Evans Brown earn a service dog. Gently worn, used or new shoes — of any variety — are being collected at Falconer Park on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mallory, who has athetoid cerebral palsy, and her family are coordinating their efforts with Funds2Orgs to collect and forward shoes to micro-enterprise vendors in developing nations.

Mallory, a 9-year-old, earns 40 cents a pound for the shoes she collects. The money will be applied to her family’s pledge to raise $17,000 of the $40,000 to $60,000 it costs to raise and train a service dog through 4Paws For Ability.

Sponsors include Pepsi, UPMC Chautauqua WCA Care and Share, Univera Healthcare, Peregrine Senior Services, Southern Tier Kidney Association and Shults Auto Group. Raffle baskets, food and craft vendors will be at Falconer Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. following the race.

Sign-up for the race is available on-line at RunSignUp.com where the Be Kind 5K race Saturday is listed or by calling Megan Barone to register, 664-8423. The race starts and ends at Falconer Park on North Phetteplace in Falconer where there will be food and fun events from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Early registration at the park is from 5-6 p.m. Friday. Saturday registration is from 7-8:30 a.m. with the timed 5K run beginning at 9 a.m. and 5K walk at 9:15 a.m. The event is a pet friendly event as was Rosie Billquist.

The pre-registration fee of $25, $30 race day, (plus $2.50 registration fee) includes participation in the race and a t-shirt commemorating the event. Pets may be registered for $5. Owner must identify name of dog, its breed, pet’s Veterinarian and proof and date of their pet’s rabies vaccination. Online registration concludes on June 8 at 11:59 p.m. Be Kind 5K tee-shirts may be ordered Saturday for $15 each.

The name of the race comes from the quote Rosie painted on a bench she created for patients to use outside UPMC Chautauqua WCA where she worked. It reads: “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”

Individuals or corporations wishing to become sponsors for the race may do so by contacting Megan Barone in the Development Department at 664-8423 or at Baronema3@upmc.edu.

To directly support the memorial fund for Rosie, send tax-exempt contributions to the Rosemary Billquist Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o WCA Foundation, P.O. Box 840; Jamestown, NY 14702-0840.