By Malarie Allen, Donor Relations Specialist

While many people participate in the Race to Remember in memory of someone they love, one Boaz man plans to run the 5K route with a loaded backpack to recognize hurting individuals of all kinds in the upcoming March 7 race.

Joseph Rowan, 33, is registered for the Race to Remember and said he plans to run bearing a backpack full of books and other items. The demonstration will represent the physical and spiritual weight everyone carries in life from various circumstances. He also hopes to honor those who work to relieve people’s burdens.

“A hero is needed to help someone overcome that obstacle,” Rowan said. “Real heroes are not necessarily dressed in capes and masks, but police officers, firefighters, paramedics, soldiers, and everyday people who go above and beyond the call of duty to help someone in need, to help take that weight off their back. When that happens, miracles occur.”

The Race to Remember 5K benefits the hospice, palliative care, and grief support programs of Shepherd’s Cove. The 15th annual event on March 7 at Albertville High School will celebrate the everyday heroes that face life-limiting illness and grief and those who accompany them along the journey.

Rowan understands how different issues in life can weigh people down. He has dealt with grief from loss and struggles with autism, he said. He also has deep connections with Shepherd’s Cove. He lost his grandfather to “failing health,” and his mother died with lung cancer almost nine years ago. Both were under the care of Shepherd’s Cove. He also lost a dear friend and mentor who was a devoted, longtime volunteer for Shepherd’s Cove.

As Rowan pushes toward the finish line at the Race to Remember, he hopes to inspire others carrying their own spiritual weight to keep pushing forward in life.

“Today, this run is to benefit Shepherd’s Cove and those who have lost a loved one,” he said. “Tomorrow, it’s for God and country. May this run be a blessing to others who have a struggle in their life. I pray God heals the brokenhearted. God bless those that believe in Christ, God bless Israel, and God bless the United States of America.”