The theme for the night was Light the Sky Up for Thompson. Everyone glowed with painted faces and clothing.
Thompson was diagnosed with retinoblastoma (cancer of the eye) at 6 months. He turned 10 months on Saturday.
The first event, Glow Dash for T-Nash 5K, began at 8 p.m., for the 1,100 runners. The race began and ended at the community center. On one street, runners were cheered on by sounds of “Eye of the Tiger” being played. When they reached fraternity row on the Jacksonville State University campus, they were greeted with more waves of encouragement.
Later that night, a benefit concert, “Pink Gone Green,” took place on Lonely Pines Road. About 500 attended. Riley Green performed on a flat bed trailer.
“Our family is just so amazed at the support from the community,” said Thompson’s aunt, Crissy Werner. “We’re so proud to be from this community. Some day we wake and think it’s a dream. Unfortunately, though, we’re living in this reality. But we feel like God’s got this.”
She expressed her family’s appreciation to the Team Thompson group, supporters, and everyone who helped with the events.
John-Paul Werner said he had a surreal feeling as he was running.
“All I kept thinking was if Thompson can go through what he goes through every day, this is the least we can do,” he said.
Members of Zeta Tau Alpha came from Washington, D. C., Florida and Georgia. Thompson’s mother and Werner are members of that fraternity.
Thompson has undergone five rounds of chemotherapy at St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis. He has six more to go. So far, he’s had three units of blood.
Contact Margaret at firstname.lastname@example.org.