Awareness, education, raising funds for vital research and honoring the short life of Ava Brown is what brought more than 300 people to Memorial Park early Saturday morning.
Ava Elizabeth Brown was the second child of Robby and Sarah Brown, Jefferson City. She was born Feb. 16, 2009, and was a happy and healthy girl. On April 15, 2009, the 8-week-old was spending only her third day at the baby sitter's when she died from SIDS - Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Since her death, the Brown family has worked passionately to spread the word about SIDS.
Last year, the Ava Brown Memorial 5K raised nearly $10,000, which was donated to First Candle, previously known as the SIDS Alliance, for research, education and prevention.
Sarah Brown, Ava's mom, said they had about the same number of participants as last year, though a shorter, more family friendly, less intense event, Ava's Amble was added.
Ava's Amble allowed participants to walk, untimed, throughout Memorial Park and avoid the 3.1 miles of a 5K that may be too much for some.