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A positive message born out of tragedy

Amy Stewart loved to run. She was the captain of Daemen College's women's soccer team, after all. But on March 7, 2009, Stewart and a friend, Rachel Baird, were the victims of a hit-and-run accident on Main Street.

Stewart was in a comatose state for two months, and suffered multiple injuries, including damage to the brain. When she awoke, she received therapy to help regain her strength and speech, but her friends still wanted to help her in some way. So, they created Strides for Stewart to help pay for Stewart's hospital bills.

Strides for Stewart is much more than just a charity run. It contains a message of hope.

"The message I would like to give out is no matter the situation you go through in your life, a person can always improve and do well when they have a positive attitude and work toward it," said Stewart, 25, of Grand Island.

What's also unique about Strides for Stewart is that every year the money made from the run is given to a new cause. Last year the funds raised at Strides for Stewart II was donated to the Erie County Medical Center. In September, the money raised at Strides for Stewart III -- almost $8,000, was given to the Miracle League, a baseball diamond on Grand Island that gives disabled children a chance to play sports.

Stewart, who wants to become a special-education teacher, thought that the Miracle League would be a good way to help out children with special needs. She also hopes that money raised from a future run can go to an organization that helps people who have brain injuries.


Jesse Orrange is a freshman at Kenmore West High School.

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