Dell County Mile


Yesterday was one of those days that makes you so grateful for your small town life in Carroll County!  TOFF (Tree of Friends Foundation)  organized a family fun run to support Gina Barnes’ Warrior Fund.  Blog followers will recognize Gina’s name as her family has appeared multiple times and most recently we told the story of her battle with colon cancer that has returned in her liver and lymph nodes in Gina’s Fight




Gina is one of those people that is most known for her warmth, kindness, humility and service to those around her.  Which is exactly why she is so bowled over by all the support the community has surrounded her with.  She is overwhelmed by the love that is being poured onto her family.  This race was just one of many, many local efforts to let her know how much she is loved and provide opportunities for people to link arms with the Barnes family and support them in their fight.   I joked with Gina’s daughter  Sophia that she had to stand in line to give her mom a hug, along with the continual flow of others who waited to show their love and support! 


The run was a wonderful success!  The host site was Dell Brothers Farm, known to most of Carroll County as a much loved farming family in our community.  Over 300 participants registered for the 1 mile or the 5k.  The day was bright, sunny and warm–perfect for running.   Many, many local businesses linked arms with TOFF to support the race.   Believe Big was a presence as well, a non-profit with the mission of helping families navigate their cancer journey with hope.  Sadie was right at home surveying the festivities and riding in the Ranger.  The DJ played music that kept the mood light and fun while prompting the crowd to randomly dance as well!   A great time was had by all!  The women of TOFF who worked so hard to organize this giant venture, Jessie Boog, Ivy Gifford, Jenni Magin and Darcey Hott pulled it all off beautifully with contributions from sooo many wonderful people and businesses!



Erik took time to thank the crowds for coming out to support his wife and family in their battle.  He is so grateful for the prayer warriors who have stepped into the gap to bolster his family in prayer and deed throughout their battle.  Gina reminds Erik that they are in God’s hands and He is in control.  She does not complain or question her circumstances, but is resting in the love of her great God to carry her through this.   She knows the rallied prayer has been invaluable source of support that has carried her through this fight with her Goliath.   Tony, Gina’s brother, also stepped up to thank everyone for their invaluable support.   He designed the Gina’s Warriors shirts you see many race participants wearing. 



Runners were instructed to punch the punching bag hanging from the tractor on the last leg of their race.  A lot of anger at cancer and the devastation the follows hard on the heels of every diagnosis was emptied out on that bag yesterday!  In fact, I’m suspicious that one friend Cheryl, might have broken her hand in a spirited hit! 



While the 5k was going on, this deer decided to join the run, blazing his own trail!  (left of the frame above)  He bound his way gracefully across the runner’s path and was probably counting his blessings this was a “no hunting” day on the farm!  

How appropriate that the Dell County Mile would have Annie Dell and her twin brother win the 1 mile race!  She knows her brother could easily beat her, but they had a blast competing together!   He took 2nd place in the 5k! 😉



Even the youngest in our community have joined the ranks of Gina’s Warriors—making and selling Rainbow Loom bracelets to support her Warrior Fun!  Beautiful! 

I mentioned it before in Gina’s Fight, but this is the beauty of the Gospel being worked out in our daily lives.  God taking things He hates, like cancer, and growing things He loves like compassion, kindness, charity, service, unity…among His people.  He is the master of bringing beauty from the ashes in our lives.

We were created to be God’s friend; He created us to love us and for us to love Him back.  His ultimate expression of this love is in the gift of His Son Jesus whom we will soon celebrate in Christmas.  God’s clearest demonstration of beauty from ashes is found in the death and resurrection of our sweet Jesus.  What appeared to be a devastating defeat, was just a piece of the story that would continue 3 days later in a grand celebration, our Easter story!   This great love prompts us to pour love into others and we are so grateful to be able to do that for the Barnes family!  Please continue to pray for Gina in her fight!!  

  1. Jessie Boog says:

    WOW! Jennifer, you captured my roller-coaster of emotions so beautifully in these pictures and words. I am so grateful for all these people, our community and especially Gina for being God’s disciple and bringing us all together in one place to celebrate, cry, laugh, accomplish, etc…

  2. Jennifer DiDio says:

    Awww, Jessie i love it!! you worked so hard to pull this day together and i’m glad my coverage was able to capture the heart and soul you poured into the event! roller coaster of emotions sums it up perfectly! Here’s to vesting in what matters most!!! 🙂

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