Fortune’s Fortress

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Fortune’s Fortress

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As kids, many don’t expect the worst to happen to their parents. But when Perri Fortune was thirteen-years-old, it did. Her mother, Mary Stewart Fortune, was diagnosed with Grade 4 Glioblastoma Multiforme. “From the time she was diagnosed, to the time she passed away was 10 months. It came out of the blue; she was completely healthy,” Fortune said.

As Fortune remembers her mother, she is constantly reminded of how much she loved children. Stewart Fortune is one of the founders of the well-known Benny Russell Park. “She had a huge heart for children and bettering their lives, which is why she started the park. It is the biggest park in the area, and people come from all around to see it,” Fortune said.

In honor of her mother and to benefit the park, which broke ground in 2001, the Mary Stewart Fortune Fun Run was started and just completed its third year. “The purpose of it is to raise money for the park. The last time we did the run, all the money went to the park to fund the ADA portion of it. It is all inclusive, so children with special needs or wheelchairs can play on it. “There is special padding in the section, so the wheelchairs can smoothly roll on it,” Fortune said.

During the run, participants ran around the Spencer Field helicopter pad – about four miles. “We had 150 registrants which is more than we’ve ever had, and we made a little over $5,000. After the run, we had snacks, games, raffles, and stuff like that,” Fortune said.

For about six months, the five co-chairs, Perri Fortune, Bria Goad, McKenzie Dixon, Ryleigh Ballard, and Elijah Peppers planned the run. “This is my first year doing it by myself. Before, my aunt put it on, but this year, SGA and I did it,” Fortune said. Since the beginning of this fund raiser, Fortune has met many people who knew her mom. “I have met so many people who knew my mom. It’s good to hear that my mom touched so many lives. I have learned so many things about her that I didn’t know before,” Fortune said.

Along with Fortune, many people were behind the scenes helping support the event. McGreggor Kennison, an SGA member, worked and ran at the Mary Stewart Fortune event. “I helped set up for the first 30 minutes and then played a few games before starting the race,” Kennison said. With the many helping hands, Fortune and her fellow SGA members were able to make her project a success once again.