Runners celebrate fifth year of fundraising


Annual participation in Portland Marathon helps benefit nonprofit Thelmas Place

by: PHIL HAWKINS - he 2012 Portland Marathon runners Briana Haggin, Anna Yakis, Genie Shadrin and Jake Haggin sport shirts and medals earned by participating in past marathons. The team has helped raise donations for Thelmas Place by taking $100 sponsorships from companies in Woodburn, Canby and the Willamette Valley.As Jill Porter awaited the arrival of her team of runners Saturday morning, she perused through a collection of long-sleeve shirts and gold medallions. Each one commemorates completion of the Portland Marathon, now in its 43rd year.

Jill has competed in the last four marathons and recently completed her fifth Sunday with a team of five runners she recruited to help raise funds for Thelma’s Place, a local non-profit that supports adults and families affected by memory loss.

Her team – which includes Jake Haggin, Briana Haggin, Anna Yakis, Genie Shadrin – starts to trickle in and chat about their previous experiences running the marathon before they make the trip to Portland to pick up their bibs.

Jake, Briana and Genie joined Jill and her son Curtis team for the first time last year, joining a cast of runners that cycle in and out of Jill’s team on a regular basis. Jill has been the most frequent marathon runners, competing ever year since 2009. Past team members include Jackie Barnes and Danette Henrich in 2011, and Whitney Prieger in 2012.

Anna, who is in her third year of running the marathon, heard of the event through Jill and was quick to participate.

“Oh my gosh, sign me up!” she said. The next year, Anna recruited Genie to the team, and the two quickly took to running on a regular basis.

“This kid roped me into a 5K,” said Genie. “And then we just did a marathon.”

“Yeah, that escalated quickly,” said Anna.

All but Whitney returned from last year’s team to race Sunday and were excited to try it again despite unfavorable conditions during the 2012 marathon.

“Last year it was 100 degrees,” said Porter. “My team was practically naked. No one wanted to wear their jackets.”

The jackets are lightweight, black zip-up coats with the Thelma’s Place logo embroidered over the left breast. On the back of the coats is a list of 26 sponsors from Woodburn and the surrounding area. Each sponsor contributed $100 to Jill’s team to help pay for marathon registration fees and donate to Thelma’s Place, which operates four days a week from its building located in downtown Canby.

Thelma’s Place opened its doors in 2011 thanks to founder Erik Berkey, who lives in Hubbard, and has been an open door to help people and families affected by dementia, Alzheimer’s and memory loss.

by: COURTESY OF JILL PORTER - Curtis Porter sports his 2012 Portland Marathon shirt and medal. Porter is a part of a rotating cast of runners who help raise funds each year for local memory loss center Thelmas Place.“It gives these people a place to come, to be with other people and to have meaning in their lives,” said Erik. “Eighty thousand Oregonians have Alzheimer’s, and that number is going up.”

Porter works as a marketing consultant and was approached by Berkey to come up with a way to support Thelma’s Place. She agreed to help, provided she was allowed to do it her own unique way, and she came up with the idea to run the Portland Marathon for sponsorships from businesses and individuals in the community.

What started as a handful of donations at first has grown over the years to the point that Jill is running out of room on the back of the commemorative jackets. For next year’s team, she is thinking of asking for larger donations instead of more donations, but with a year before then, she has plenty of time to plan her sixth race.

In the meantime, Jill and Erik, along with many members on staff at Thelma’s Place, will be focused on the organization’s coming silent auction and dinner event in February at the Willamette Valley Country Club. Erik invites people to make donations or purchase tickets by going to or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Donor list:

Jill Porter and her team have solicited thousands of dollars in sponsored donations for Thelma's Place since 2011. Below is a list of contributors who have donated at least $100 to Porter's Portland Marathon Team along with the years in which they donated.

Abby's Pizza, Woodburn (2013, 2012, 2011)

Allegro Dance Studio (2013)

American Family Insurance, Woodburn (2013, 2012, 2011)

Baker & Baker Towing & Crane, Inc. (2013)

Benavidez Tires and Wheels in Woodburn (2012, 2011)

Canby Pub and Grill (2013, 2012)

Case Automotive Inc., Woodburn (2013, 2012)

Country Meadows Village (2013, 2012)

Davies Clinic, PC (2013)

Eastside Steel (2013, 2011)

Ebner Custom Meats (2013, 2012)

Evelyn's Adult Foster Home (2013, 2012, 2011)

Everybody Fitness, LLC (2013)

Freedom Hearing Center (2013)

Green Group Real Estate (2013)

Holman Improvement (2013)

Hubbard Inn/TernHol,LLC (2013)

Jay McGraw Construction, Inc. (2012)

Ken's Auto Body and Service Center, Inc. in Woodburn (2013, 2012)

Kustom Kreations (2013, 2012)

Long Bros. Building Supply, Inc. in Woodburn (2012)

Luis's Taqueria Inc. (2013, 2012, 2011)

Mid-Valley Community Church (2013, 2012)

Nuevo Vallarta in Canby and Los Cabos in Woodburn (2013, 2012)

Pacific Northwest Transmission, Inc. (2013)

Pat and Cruz Sanchez (2011)

Product Mfg. (2011)

Scott and Anna (2011)

Summit Manufacture (2011)

Tektronix, Inc. (2011)

Valley Fab Corp Inc. and Newave Tower Components (2013, 2012, 2011)

Walmart Supercenter, Woodburn (2013, 2012)

Willamette Ballet Academy (2012)

Withers Lumber in Salem, Molalla, and Silverton (2013)

Woodburn Family Dentistry (2013)

YG Media (2011)