Garrettsville SummerFest’s 5K for Cancer will have two very special guests at this year’s race on June 30, 2013. The two guests are considered local heroes and are not only running the race but also will be on hand for a meet and greet session before the race.  The local heroes are cancer survivor Amanda Joy Hall  and 2012 Olympian Bridget Franek.

Amanda Joy Hall is a Streetsboro native and regional recording artist who was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2006, The cancer had metastasized to her lymph nodes and later cost her a third of  her right lung.  After years of treatment she has been cancer-free for four years.

When Amanda first heard the word cancer she was banking on the fact that being young and otherwise healthy, she would overcome this, but she also began taking inventory of her life in case  she was wrong. Come and hear Amanda as she  shares how her journey has enriched her faith in God and how she inspires others to have that same hope and faith through their darkest journeys.

Amanda will speak briefly and sing one of her songs at the opening ceremonies of the Friends of Melana 5K /1mile Fun Run/Walk at Garrettsville SummerFest on June 30, 2013 in downtown Garrettsville. Afterwards, she will participate in the race as well. Amanda is married to Iraqi Veteran Tom Hall and is mom to four children. Besides being a mom, she is a recording artist/songwriter and drives bus for Streetsboro Schools.  More information on Amanda can be found at

The other special guest is 2012 Olympic Steeplechase Runner Bridget Franek from Hiram. Bridget is a 2006 Crestwood Graduate who is pursuing a track and field career focusing on the 3000m Steeplechase.

In high school, she won four state titles (4x800m, 800m, 1,600m and the 3,200m.)  In college she was a ten-time NCAA All American and set six school records at Penn State –indoor 1,600m, indoor 3,000m, 4×1600, mile, 3,000m steeplechase, and the DMR.

Last year Bridget made the Olympic finals and competed in the 2012 Olympic Games. She did not medal, but she made her hometown and surrounding area proud.

Bridget currently resides in Eugene, Oregon and trains with the Oregon Track Club Elite.

Come meet Bridget and run a race with an Olympian, while helping the Friends of Melana kick kid’s cancer. Bridget will kick-off the race at SummerFest and participate in it as well.

Melana Matson was a nine year, old vivacious girl, who loved life, animals, nature, and soccer, had a huge menagerie of Webkinz and lived her life to the fullest until she was diagnosed in January of 2009 with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a rare childhood cancer affecting the brain stem. The young girl, who knew no stranger, lived by the motto “Just Keep Swimming,” and brought the entire community together as they prayed for a miracle and helped raise funds to defray her medical costs, but it wasn’t enough.  Melana earned her wings and departed this earth in 2009. It was her zest for life that impacted the group and their desire to see that no other child suffers like Melana did, which is why this group is dedicated to raising funds for research, with the ultimate goal of finding a cure for this horrible disease and this race is their biggest fundraiser.

It is not too late to join Franek and Hall in the Third Annual Memorial 5k and 1 mile run/walk at Garrettsville SummerFest, on Sunday June 30, 2013 at 9am, all you need to do is register at The cost is $25 per runner and $10 for the fun run/walk. Runners  can get additional individual sponsors by downloading a sponsor form from Eventbrite and asking friends for pledges. All individual sponsors’ monies are due on June 30, 2013. Those who raise $50 in pledges may request to have their registration fee refunded by Eventbrite.

Although pre-registration at Eventbrite is preferred, one may also register the day of the event at the race. T-shirts will be guaranteed for the first 200 that register prior to June 15, 2013.

This year’s SummerFest will be held on June 28th-30th.  The primary sponsors are Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce, Kepich Ford/ Main Street Grille and Brewing Company, University Hospital Geauga Medical Center, Charles Auto Family and the Weekly Villager. SummerFest is traditionally held the fourth full weekend in June at the intersections of State Route 82 and State Route 88 in downtown Garrettsville