Racing for good causes

By Richard Greene | Published Thursday, April 22, 2010

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Jeff Berres shared a common passion for running with his younger sister, Leslie Denison.

“She followed in my footsteps and ran track and cross country,” said Berres, who ran cross country at the University of Texas between 1998 and 2003. “We were the only ones in the family that were runners. She did it more for me than her. A lot of friends were also involved, and it was a social outlet for her.”

Saturday, the day after Denison’s 18th birthday, the Lace Up for Leslie 5K will be held in Bridgeport to celebrate her life and also raise money for a scholarship in her name. Denison was killed Aug. 25 when an awning in downtown Bridgeport fell on her as she and a friend passed by.

“I thought this would be a fun way to memorialize her and also a way to set up a scholarship to help students,” Berres said.

The event will feature a 5K that starts at 9 a.m. at Bridgeport High School. There will also be a 2-mile fun run and 1-mile walk.

After the run, a band will play, and there will be bounce houses for children.

Friday before the run, a benefit dinner will be held at the Rock City Burger Company with the Cody Robins Band performing from 6 to 9 p.m.

“This is not a memorial, but a celebration of her life,” Berres said.

He is hoping the proceeds from the weekend’s events will fund as many as two scholarships. Some of the money raised will go to the Bridgeport Optimist Club, which has helped set up the event for Berres, who resides in Austin.

“The community has been super positive,” Berres said. “We have a couple hundred people signed up.”

For information about the event, click on

Denny’s Mess team takes to streets

More than 20 members of the Wise County Messenger staff and their families will take part in the Komen Tarrant County Race for the Cure Saturday at Sundance Square in Fort Worth in honor of longtime Messenger staff member Denny Deady.

“It means everything to me,” said Deady about the outpouring of support by her co-workers. “I’ve been at the Messenger for 34 years and this is about the nicest thing that has happened to me. I’m speechless about it.”

Deady was diagnosed with breast cancer 11 years ago. After receiving treatment, including chemotherapy, she made a full recovery. Deady credits early detection for allowing her to defeat the disease.

“[The treatment] was not bad because of the great results,” Deady said.

“[Cancer] doesn’t define you, but it changes who you are,” she added. “It has enhanced my life and made me appreciate it more.”

She now works tirelessly with local groups, including Mary’s Gift, to raise money to provide free mammograms to women in Wise County who can’t afford the regular exams.

“Breast-cancer awareness is now a passion of mine,” Deady said. “We have to keep the awareness level up.”

Deady plans to retire from the paper this fall.

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