Community comes together to honor Caleb Eide, raise funds

SUBMITTED PHOTO Chatfield cross-country runners shadow elementary school runners in the Halloween run.

SUBMITTED PHOTO Brady Irish enjoys his balloon creation.

SUBMITTED PHOTO Many participants decided to walk in the “Eide Run the Street for a Little Trick or Treat” to show community support for the Caleb Eide Memorial Foundation.
Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

Chatfield Elementary School partnered with the Caleb Eide Memorial Foundation on Saturday, Oct. 26, to hold the CES-Caleb Eide Memorial Foundation “Eide Run the Street for a Little Trick or Treat,” a collaboration that honored the little boy’s fierce commitment to getting where he was going and doing it with speed and enthusiasm. 

“Caleb was a very active little guy with a huge passion for sports.  If he was going somewhere, he would typically run to get there,” recounted Chatfield Elementary teacher Jolene Dornack.

Caleb Eide, son of Crystal Eide, was a Chatfield Elementary School student for whom the entire Chatfield community rallied as he bravely fought leukemia until his death in 2016. 

“Caleb had hoped to one day be in a race, and he and his mom were actually signed up for one back in 2014 but ended up having to back out of it because of an unexpected hospital stay,” Dornack said.

The Caleb Eide Memorial Foundation hosts a golf fundraising event every year, but the foundation had been approached by non-golfers who said that they’d like to support the foundation in some other way than golf, noted Caleb’s mother. 

“We tossed around a couple ideas but decided on a fun run for a couple of reasons – to get the whole family involved and to memorialize Caleb’s wish of wanting to be in a race someday,” she said.

“For the past two years, Chatfield Elementary has been focusing on character development during our Wednesday Gopher Time lessons,” Dornack added. “We believe that building a strong community through community partnership is one way to build character in our students.  During Gopher Time, we are trying to create a strong school culture by increasing our community partnerships.  We need all hands on deck to help create this culture.  When students, parents and teachers work together, we build a strong sense of community.  Our goal was to give our students the experience and satisfaction of contributing to the welfare of others.”     

The 2019 Halloween fun run, at the Lonestone Subdivision, featured a 1K walk/run, followed by a 5K walk/run, bounce houses, balloons, Halloween tattoos, and one of Caleb’s favorite foods, walking tacos.  Everyone was welcome to participate in the second annual event, doing what Caleb would have loved – getting exercise, and the best part, doing it with friends. 

Chatfield Elementary School’s goal was to get 100 students to participate in the run, and at the finish line, that goal was met and exceeded. 

“The Chatfield High School cross-country team came to support student runners,” Dornack said. “They ran alongside students to encourage them to keep running.  They ran both the 1K and the 5K.” 

The funds raised from this year’s race will go to the Adam and Andrea Eickhoff family of Chatfield, which was involved in a head-on collision on Aug. 17.

“The road to recovery will be long,” the family stated. “We appreciate your support, words of hope and encouragement, and most importantly, your prayers.’” 

And in the spirit of friendship – that which Caleb took with him and shared everywhere, from Chatfield Elementary School to the halls of the hospitals, where he was known for being the boy who was kind to others – Dornack concluded that Chatfield had come through in his name once more.

“It was great to see the entire community coming together,” Dornack said.