Practical nursing students hosting memorial run to honor classmate

The Practical Nursing (PN) students at Northeast Tech Pryor are preparing for the second annual Armed & Dangerous 5K Run/Walk. Named in honor of a former practical nursing (PN) student who lost his battle with cancer, the run was created to generate scholarships for PN students.

Normally, when a nurse goes running by it might be a sign that someone is injured and needing assistance. However, if you happen to be on the Northeast Tech Pryor Campus on the morning of April 27, these nurses will be running to raise scholarships for students.

On the morning of Saturday, April 27, the Northeast Tech Pryor Campus will transform into a 5K course for the third annual Armed & Dangerous 5K Run/Walk. Named in honor of a former practical nursing (PN) student who lost his battle with cancer, the run was created to generate scholarships for PN students.

“Every year, we have students who struggle to keep up with the costs associated with the program, and we wanted to find a way to help them eliminate that barrier,” said PN Administrative Assistant Sarah Thompson. “We also thought it would be nice if we could find a way to help while also honoring one of our own – Ken Heddlesten.”

Ken Heddlesten was a PN student during the 2015-2016 school year. Sadly, shortly before completing the program, Heddlesten was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given only months to live. Ken’s family, friends and classmates still mourn his loss. His was a life of service to others, first in the military and then in the medical realm, and naming a scholarship effort in his honor seemed a fitting way to honor their fallen classmate.

“It just seemed to fit – he lived to serve others, and this run generates scholarships that enable students to achieve their career goal of serving others,” Thompson said.

Last year’s run raised $6,000 from the corporate sponsorships and registrations, and of that amount nearly $1,000 was awarded in scholarships to PN students at the Pryor Campus. Ken’s daughter, Kaitlynn, is pleased at the good work being done in her father’s name.

“What they’re doing to keep my dad’s memory alive – I think it’s amazing,” Kaitlynn said. “He was always a big supporter of education, and I’m honored that they’ve put this race together. I hope it goes on for a long time.”

Ken was an active runner and every year he participated in the Army’s Bataan Memorial Death March at the White Sands Missile Range.

“My husband, who served three combat tours with my dad, still does that race every year wearing a T-shirt with my dad’s name on it,” Kaitlynn said. “They served together in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The Armed & Dangerous 5K Run/Walk is a sanctioned event, and can serve as a qualifier for serious runners. The course has been certified by the USA Track & Field organization which guarantees distance accuracy and allows runners to accurately track and compare their performance. One change that won’t be immediately visible this year is the number of students impacted by the fundraiser.

“This year, the PN faculty decided to open up the scholarship fund to the other PN programs instead of just the Pryor Campus,” Thompson said. “In order to be eligible for the scholarship, all we ask is that the PN students help with the fundraiser activities leading up to the race and be present the day of the event.”

If funds are available, the committee has a goal of providing two $250 scholarships per campus per fiscal year, one in the fall and one in the spring.

“We are excited to open this scholarship opportunity to all the PN programs, and we hope that it will benefit all of our nursing students in the way it has helped so many of those at Pryor,” Thompson said.

The cost of registration is $30, and the deadline for entering the race is Thursday, April 25. There is also a virtual run available, and those who choose that option will pay only $25. There is no registration deadline for the virtual run. On the day of the race, registration will open at 8 a.m., and the run itself will begin at 9 a.m.

“We’ve had fantastic support from our event sponsors: Red Crown Credit UnionMEA Healthcare Education SuppliesMoore Farms Rustic Weddings & Event BarnsHillcrest Hospital PryorGrand River Abstract & Title Co. and Hamill Metals, Inc. ” said Thompson. “With their help, not only has our event gotten better, but I’m hopeful that it will also result in an increase in the scholarship dollars we generate.”

Everyone who participates will receive a T-shirt and goodie bag, and those items are included in the cost of registration. Registration for the Armed & Dangerous 5K Run/Walk is now open and online at https://runsignup.com/armedanddangerous5k. The race itself will take place on April 27.

All the proceeds will be used to offer scholarships to PN students who are accepted into the program and need help offsetting costs. For example, students take an NCLEX Review Class, which can cost upwards of $200 and is not included in their tuition. Often times the class requires travel and an overnight stay, however the class is beneficial in helping students pass their boards. 

About Northeast Tech
Northeast Tech’s campuses are located in Afton, Kansas, Pryor and Claremore. Through its full-time daytime classes, short-term evening classes, and its business and industry services and training, Northeast serves well over 34,000 patrons per year. For more information on any of the classes or training programs available, visit Northeast Tech’s website at www.netech.edu or call (918) 825-7040.