September marks the fifth anniversary for the Rylie’s Smile Foundation annual Dog Days of Summer 5K run in Lewes.
Normally, this popular run is hosted by American Legion Post 17, with hundreds of participants enjoying breakfast and fellowship afterward. Rylie’s Smile founder Rylie Maedler is the grandchild of one of Post 17’s founding veterans, Bob Maedler.
However, in order to protect the health of the participants, this year it is being held as a virtual run from Monday, Sept 7, to Wednesday, Sept. 30. Runners personally track their progress as opposed to a large public gathering.
Rylie Maedler, now 14, endured extensive surgery and rehabilitation to treat an aggressive bone tumor and seizures. Working with specialists, she received and had phenomenal success for pain relief with medical marijuana. To help other families, Rylie’s Law was passed in 2015, allowing pediatric patients the legal use of cannabis-derivative medicines. However, not all children are as lucky as Rylie; some began suffering negative side effects from cannabis. Lab testing determined that many of the products were contaminated with harmful ingredients, which inspired Rylie to partner with an agricultural biotech company to produce safe and effective alternative medication for families like hers.
Today, the benefits of medical marijuana are widely recognized, and this local advocate is helping other children achieve a better quality of life through continued research and donated treatment to families in need. Community support of the Dog Days of Summer 5K has led to successful events in past years. Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes, is honorary chair of the event.
American Legion Post 17 is promoting its own giving campaign to assist the cause. Donations payable to Rylie’s Smile Foundation may be dropped off at Post 17, 113 American Legion Road, Lewes while visiting for food, drink and good fellowship. All are welcome. Facial coverings are required, and social distancing and occupancy limits are also being followed. The post is open from noon to 7 p.m., Thursday to Sunday. For more information, call 302-645-9965.
For the virtual run, runners will independently walk or run 3.1 miles at any time between Sept. 7 and 30. Any safe location is acceptable – neighborhoods, trails, at home on a treadmill. Participants are asked to track their own distance and time using a fitness watch or smartphone app. Running times and photos of each course can be submitted to Facebook and/or Instagram; tag @RyliesSmile and @Races2RunDe. Finisher certificates can also be printed.
Rylie and her family are excited about this virtual event, as it can now include runners from all over, locally and even internationally. The foundation is hoping that all can share in this fun by submitting photographs of something or someone on the virtual trail that was inspirational and brought a smile.