Medici family carries on with Olivias spirit

by: , Olivia Medici

TIGARD - The one-year anniversary of Olivia Medici's death brought with it a small rain storm. Her mother Annalee, her father Mark and her sister Eva stood in the rain Nov. 12 as they placed flowers by Olivia's grave.

'I was holding a large umbrella over Mark and I as we silently cried about making it through our first year without one of our kids,' Annalee wrote in an online journal at

Olivia, who was diagnosed at the age of 3½ with MPS Sanfilippo, died in November 2006 at the age of 5. MPS Sanfilippo is a disorder in which dead cells are not digested and are instead stored in soft tissue organs and muscles. The disorder is progressively damaging. It leads to death. And there is no cure.

'If we chose to, we could drown in our misery,' Annalee wrote in the journal, 'but we would be doing nothing to keep Olivia's spirit alive and moving. And the only way that will happen is by hoping. And maybe hoping will bring a little healing.'

This weekend the Medici family will host the Second Annual Olivia Medici Memorial Run/Walk. In its first year, the event raised $16,000 which went to help fund family support programs at Duke University and the Doernbecher Children's Hospital.

Both institutes provided Olivia with treatment. And as Annalee and Mark learned from traveling with their daughter to seek treatment, support from programs was sometimes a lifeline for families.

The annual run/walk that honors their daughter is raising money to help families of sick children who fight and struggle to find treatment.

The run/walk is set for Sunday, April 27, at Greenway Park next to the Old Fanno Farmhouse on Creekside Place in Beaverton. Registration and check-in is at 7:30 a.m. The 10K race begins at 8:45 a.m. The 5K run/walk begins at 9 a.m. And food, fun and festivities starts at 9:30 a.m.

Registration for the day of the event is $30. The event will include recognition for the top two male and female finishers and the sale of raffle tickets for several items including two round-trip tickets on Alaska Airlines, a foursome golf package at Pumpkin Ridge and a cruise for two to the Bahamas or Cozumel.

On Tuesday, the race already had 130 people signed up to participate. Annalee said organizers are hoping to raise at least as much money as they did last year.

At a glance

What: Second Annual Olivia Medici Memorial Run/Walk

When: Sunday, April 27, starting at 7:30 a.m.

Where: Greenway Park in Beaverton

Registration is 7:30 a.m. the day of the event.