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Parents reflect on the past 10 years of Noah's Quest benefit walk, run

Event at Sandy park benefits parents who lost infants at birth

Cary Mallon has little doubt how to answer if he and his wife Carol Cohen had been asked back when they started Noah’s Quest run and walk if they’d still be hosting the event 10 years down the road.

“I think I would have said ‘Yes,’” Mallon said. “’This is going to be something we do every year.’”

The couple started the annual benefit a decade ago after their son Noah was stillborn.

“Life gets busy and we don’t go to his graveside very often,” Cohen said. “It gives us time to reflect on that day. It’s a way of keeping his memory alive.”POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - Memorial bricks make up a walkway at Sandy Bluff Park, including bricks addressed to Noah, namesake of the event.

The couple’s original intent was to raise money for research to prevent stillbirth but the couple realized the money would be better spent on families that have already experienced this tragedy.

“What we can do is make it easier for those that are afflicted,” Mallon noted. “There’s always going to be loss.”

The event’s slogan became: “For everyone who has lost a child or the hope of a child and for those who care.”

The annual run and walk event raises money for Brief Encounters, a Portland organization that provides support for families whose babies have died before, during or after birth. This year’s Noah’s Quest begins at 8 a.m. Saturday, June 27, at Sandy Bluff Park, 36801 Goldenrain St. The event features a 5K and 10K walk or run and a 1K kiddie run. Cohen said 90 percent of the event’s participants are walkers.

New this year is a display called “Wall of Babies.” Parents who would like to see their babies added to the wall can submit photos or mementos to pat@tearsoup.com.POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - Shira Cohen-Mallon, Carol Cohen, Sidra Cohen-Mallon and Cary Mallon kneel on the Sandy Bluff Memoral Walkway, where bricks are dedicated to the memory of children who died too soon.

“Most of the time there’s really no connection even though we’re all walking together for the same reason,” Cohen said, adding she hopes the wall will help establish the connection.

Each year of the event, doves are released to honor the children participants came to remember. In keeping with the 10th anniversary, 10 doves will be released at 8:45 a.m. on Saturday.

Last year, memorial bricks were carved and laid at Sandy Bluff Park to make up a memorial walkway. Prior to Saturday’s event, about 15 more bricks will be added to the walkway.

Cohen, who with Mallon has two children, Shira and Sidra, said the event will include activities for kids, including face painting and balloons.

The registration fee is $25 by Friday, June 26, $30 the day of the race, and $5 for the kiddie run.

To register for the event, visit cityofsandy.com, choose quick links and online registration. You may also register in person at the Sandy Community Center, 38348 Pioneer Blvd., or by phone at 503-668-5569.