Written by Intern Monique Frandji
Gimme 5? Well, how about Gimme 4 instead–there’s a lot more behind it! The Gimme 4 Foundation is a nonprofit organization that was founded by Justin Turner in 2011 upon his learning that his good friend Jason Roe had been diagnosed with cancer.
“I immediately felt the urge to do something to help the family,” said Turner. Turner then started running and competing in many competitive races, until the idea of hosting a 5k to try and raise money for Jason and his family seemed like a pretty good idea.
Jason Roe and family
“As I continued to pray about it, it became very clear that this could be something much bigger.” That’s when a simple race became a relief effort for many families struck by cancer. Turner named the foundation “Gimme 4” in honor of Jason who was born without thumbs and would always be heard saying “Gimme 4” instead of “Gimme 5.”
“Jason was full of life. He loved to laugh, and having fun was a part of his everyday life,” said Jason’s wife Lana Roe. Jason loved Warner, and he loved assisting the students throughout his adult life. When Turner reached out to Jason about the foundation and becoming the first recipient in 2011, Jason cried. “He was humbled and felt overwhelmed with the support and love from Justin and the Gimme 4 Foundation,” said Roe. “The foundation brought hope to Jason and I, by providing funds to assist during his cancer treatment.”
The foundation provides financial support when cancer takes a financial toll on families. Jason passed away on July 13, 2012; however, his legacy lives on. “Jason inspired us every day with his bravery and courage.” The Gimme 4 Foundation continues to spread that bravery and courage to other families in their difficult time.
Gimme 4, in its fifth year, has already helped many families who are dealing with a loved one with cancer. Warner’s professor in Church Ministry, Vicky Graham’s daughter, Alexa Wojciechowski, was the recipient for the 2015 race. “What’s been beneficial is to know people care, and the gift they gave her was a big help, anything is a help,” said Graham, who has run every race. Alexa has currently been told that her cancer has not had a recent growth, and her hair is starting to grow back as she no longer has to do the more advanced chemotherapy.
Recipients are chosen through the Gimme 4 social media outlets after nominations are posted. Usually the ones chosen to be the face for the 5k is someone local in the community and local to Warner, since the events are held there and it was a big part of Jason’s life. The other nominees receive “angel gifts,” as Turner put it.
Cindy Polston is this year’s recipient for the 5th annual 5k event. Polston is a professor in Business and the Director of the Non-Traditional Business Administration Program at Warner University. She is currently battling breast cancer.
“Cindy was always a supporter of the past events. I’ve been amazed at her strength and her courage as she has walked on this journey, and her friends will be walking with her at the 5k,” said high school friend and coworker, Kareen Pickett, who is the Director of Alumni Relations at Warner.
Chrissy Moskovits, Warner’s professor in Sport Management and the Women’s Volleyball Coach, is one of the board members of the foundation. “It was something I felt I was led to do. It’s a rewarding opportunity helping out a family that needs it. ”
The 5k will be held on February 20 at Warner’s campus. “Warner is such a close knit family atmosphere, and so many people there were affected by Jason’s life. We’ve had tremendous support from Warner since day one,” said Turner.
The race will begin at 8 a.m. and is $25 to enter. There are custom made 3-D medals to be awarded for the male/ female overall winners and for each age group. There will also be race day t-shirts, provided child care, and pancakes will be served after the race.
“My ultimate vision for Gimme 4 is to continue to build on current event lineup and keep bringing in the bigger dollars, which will allow us to help more people. I won’t stop as long as people need our help,” said Turner.
“The Gimme 4 Foundation has a lasting effect on the lives of others and we are proud to have been and continue to be a very small part of it,” said Roe. “Some of Jason’s last words on Earth were, ‘Live life to the fullest,’ and, ‘don’t wait.’”
So Gimme 4! And sign up for the Feb. 20th 5k at: https://warner.formstack.com/forms/2016_gimme4_5k_registration