First Noelle 5K Keeps Ayden In Our Hearts


It’s the third year for the First Noelle 5K, an event held in memory of Ayden O’Malley, who continues to live on in the hearts of her family, friends and community.

The annual 5K will be held on Saturday, Dec. 5, at 9:30 a.m. at St. Louis Catholic School in Nokomis, with on-site registration starting at 8:30 a.m. Those not able to make it to Nokomis on Dec. 5 are also invited to race virtually wherever they are and post pictures to the First Noelle 5K Facebook page.

“This event means so much to us because it is the only event held in her name, and December is her birthday month (a super tough month),” Ayden’s mother, Rosalind O’Malley said on Facebook, speaking for her and her husband, Dennis. “It means even more to us that you are making sure she is never forgotten and sharing your love with our family.  We appreciate it more than we can ever put into words.”

On Jan. 22, 2018, O’Malley tragically passed away at the age of 14. The Nokomis teen experienced a brain hemorrhage from an undetected arteriovenous malformation (AVM) on Jan. 18, while on the March for Life trip with her mother and several others. 

O’Malley was known for her infectious personality and having a smile that matched. She adored young children and was known as a buddy to all at the St. Louis Catholic School, where she was a student from the time she was three years old. She was also an active member of the St. Louis Catholic Church where she volunteered as a server, reader, choir member, and at numerous parish and school fundraisers.

The cost of this year’s race is $25 for race entry with a short-sleeve T-shirt or $35 for race entry with a sweatshirt or hooded sweatshirt. Extra shirts are also available for $20 per T-shirt, $30 per sweatshirt or per hooded sweatshirt. Preregistrations and shirt orders need to be in by Nov. 20 to be worn for the 5K.

The proceeds from the run will be donated to the St. Louis Catholic School to fund scholarships. The Ayden O’Malley Pro-Life Angel scholarship helps others to attend the March for Life in January. The Ayden O’Malley Memorial Scholarship is awarded to provide financial assistance for students who wish to attend St. Louis School.

For more information on the First Noelle 5K contact the 5K organizers Melissa Engelman at 217-823-1311, Megan Mehochko at 217-414-9957 or Shandy Bertolino at 217-825-6117 or visit the First Noelle 5K Facebook Page.


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