Amy Thompson Run Turns 27

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For additional information, contact: Robin Abramowitz Brain Injury Association 913-754-8883 rabramowitz@biaks.org

AMY THOMPSON RUN FOR BRAIN INJURY TURNS 27 Memorial Day Celebration has Deep Roots in Loose Park KANSAS CITY, Mo. (May 16, 2014) — The Brain Injury Association of Kansas and Greater Kansas City (BIAKS) has named Kevin Connor as this year’s recipient of the Leadership in Brain Injury Award. Kevin is the second to receive this prestigious honor, which was created by the BIAKS in 2013. (Last year’s award was given to the Byron Thompson family.) Dr. Whitney Sunderland, Chair of the Board of Directors of the BIAKS, presented the award to Connor at the annual Patron’s Party for the Amy Thompson Run for Brain Injury (www.amythompsonrun.org) at the Thompson family home on May 14. As a close childhood friend of Amy Thompson’s, Connor was one of the founders of the Amy Thompson Run 27 years ago. Since the event’s inception, Connor has remained ever loyal and closely involved in all aspects of leading and organizing the run. He has held every different job related to the run, and this year, he is serving as Sponsorship Chair to the run. His devotion and hard work over the years have been critical to the event’s long-standing success. The run is held every Memorial Day at Loose Park with more than 2,000 runners, walkers and wheelchair participants. The scenic run is one of the oldest premier family runs in Kansas City, winding through some of KC’s most beautiful neighborhoods, and is an important annual tradition for many Kansas Citians who knew Amy Thompson, are familiar with her story, or have a loved one affected by brain injury. Since its beginning, the Amy Thompson Run has raised more than $2.5 million for the BIAKS. The proceeds are used to fund vital programs to support brain injury survivors in the area and the professionals who treat them. Thanks to Connor’s service and dedication for more than a quarter of a century, this fundraising event is the single largest contributor to the BIAKS and has helped make the local organization what it is today. In addition to Connor’s involvement with the Amy Thompson Run each year, Connor holds many other philanthropic roles in the Kansas City community. He chairs the Brookside Soccer Club and serves on the board for the following organizations: Inclusive Religious Education (FIRE), which provides religious education to children with special needs; the St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center; and the Catholic Community Foundation for the Diocese of KC/St. Joe. With an undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt and a law degree from the University of Kansas, Connor currently serves as General Counsel for AMC Entertainment Inc. He and his wife, Anne, have five children together, ranging in school from the youngest in 6th grade to the oldest completing his junior year of college at K.U. The Amy Thompson Story (and Kevin Connor’s connection) Connor had the privilege of growing up with Amy Thompson. His memories of Amy are vivid to this day and have kept Amy’s spirit alive since her passing in 1989. Amy Thompson was a bright and dynamic 23-year old who had recently graduated college. Upon leaving a party on Halloween night in her own neighborhood, Amy was shot twice in the head during an attempted robbery. Against great odds, Amy survived a six-week coma and multiple surgeries. For three years following the incident, Amy fought the daily battle of life after brain injury. Her family and friends witnessed small miracles when Amy gave her first wink, uttered her first word and took her first step in the wake of the injury. Amy died unexpectedly on Christmas night, 1989, at the young age of 26. In the worst of circumstances, Amy, loved by all who knew her, was an example of courage and faith. The loss of Amy is the inspiration and motivation for Kevin Connor’s efforts, alongside the Thompson family, in spreading brain injury awareness and prevention and helping so many others affected by brain injury. This year’s run Memorial Day, May 26, 2014, marks the 27th anniversary of the Amy Thompson Run for Brain Injury. Runners, walkers, and wheelchair participants can compete in an 8K, a 5K run/walk, a one mile Walk for Thought, and the highly popular Kiddie Dash (for ages one to eight). All events will start and finish at the Loose Park pavilion at 51st Street and Wornall Road. 8K starts at 8:00 a.m. Unique to this year’s run, the Mayo Clinic will be a sponsor and have a large presence at the run. To honor Mayo’s 150-year of serving humanity, the Mayo Clinic is going on tour and sharing its story directly with people. The vehicle for this outreach is a mobile exhibit — a high-impact exhibition on wheels that provides an engaging journey of discovery. Visitors will experience contemporary, multi-media exhibits that bring to life Mayo Clinic’s values and exciting vision for the future of health care. The 53-foot, double-expandable semitrailer is being produced by Mayo Clinic in conjunction with MRA Experiential Tours and Equipment, an industry-leading company that has designed exhibits for the Library of Congress, Macy’s, Johnson & Johnson, and World Vision. The exhibit will travel to more than 50 cities throughout the United States and Canada from April through October 2014 with Kansas City being one of them. For the 27th consecutive year, longtime KMBC-TV news anchor Larry Moore will serve as the event’s Honorary Chair. 2014 major sponsors include: Country Club Bank, The Scott Ward Family, Mayo Clinic, BKD L.L.P., EPR Properties and Massman Construction.

2014 Amy Run Honoree The Brain Injury Association of Kansas and Greater Kansas City has selected Katie Zemel as the 2014 Amy Thompson Run for Brain Injury Honoree.
Katie sustained a brain injury at age 14 when she was struck by lightning during a soccer game in her freshman year of high school at Shawnee Mission South. Guesstimated by doctors as a million volts of electricity, the impact caused Katie’s heart to literally stop beating. Thanks to the remarkable CPR efforts of bystanders, both a nurse and a physical therapist attending the game, Katie was revived and rushed to Overland Park Regional hospital. She was sedated at Overland Park Regional for two weeks until her breathing tube was finally removed, and then she was transferred to Children’s Mercy. In the days following Katie’s coma, she had to re-learn everything she ever knew, including the most basic skills, such as swallowing, blinking and smiling. More than 15 years after the brain injury, Katie is still showing growth and progress each day. With the support of a wonderful manager and staff, Katie currently works three days a week at Hy-Vee crafting salads-to-go in the produce department. On her “off” days, she helps her mother with her catering business, enjoys Jazzercise and making art.

Media Notes For detailed information about the 27th Annual Amy Thompson Run for Brain Injury, please visit www.amythompsonrun.org. If you wish to schedule an interview with Katie Zemel or a Brain Injury Association representative, please contact Robin Abramowitz at 913-754-8883, ext. 4. In recent years, the Amy Thompson Run has achieved honors such as the Top Five Walk/Run Event in 2012 and 2013 by The Independent. According to the Kansas City Sports Commission, the scenic Loose Park neighborhood Run was “voted best course for a mid-sized event in Kansas City,” in 2010.

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