In the 14 weeks since her daughter’s death, Heidi Hanson has been working to keep the teenager’s memory alive.
That struggle just got easier.
On Saturday, Bluffton High School will host its sixth annual Bobcat Scorcher 5K. A portion of the money raised through the event will be donated to the Grace Sulak Scholarship Fund.
Grace Sulak, 14, was killed in a hit-and-run crash that injured two others on May 7 in Calhoun County as she rode in a vehicle headed back to Bluffton from a track meet in Columbia.
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She died at the scene on eastbound Interstate 26 after the vehicle she was in hit a tree when it was struck by what the S.C. Highway Patrol described as a white Dodge 2500 crew cab.
The truck fled the scene, and the driver has not been located, Sgt. Bob Beres said Wednesday. The investigation is continuing, he said. The crash also left Andrea Dewey and her daughter Emma injured. Both were in the same vehicle as Grace.
Anyone with information on the truck involved in Sulak’s death can call the patrol at 843-953-6010 or Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CrimeSC.
Normally the funds raised through the 5K are used for the high school’s cross country team. However, Hanson said many of Sulak’s teammates and coaches are calling this year’s run the “race for Grace.”
“Grace spent a good portion of her last two years with the Bobcats,” Hanson said. “It was kind of like her second family. She was so dedicated to that team.”
Grace was slotted to spend her first year of high school at May River High School, Hanson said. Many on that school’s cross country team ran with Sulak and will also participate in the 5K.
“The outpouring from the community is really incredible,” Hanson said. “There are no words to describe what this community has done in the last 14 weeks and continues to do.”
Hanson hopes the money contributed to the scholarship will help another young athlete compete in the sport they love.
Though the parameters of the scholarship have not been solidified, Hanson said it will be geared toward students who have interests and outlooks similar to Grace’s. It will be open to every high school in Beaufort County.
“We are looking for someone who is kind, generous, disciplined and supportive,” she said. “(Grace) was always a good role model for other kids. We are looking to do a scholarship for seniors, but we also want to do a mentor program so we can send a child to a running camp that they couldn’t afford.”
The race starts at 8 a.m. at the Hampton Hall Club in Bluffton.
Entry fee is $25. Students get a reduced rate of $20. Those rates include the purchase of a T-shirt.
Students who do not purchase a T-shirt pay $15 to run.
Participants can register online at active.com.
Those with questions can call 843-815-1718 or go to palmettorunningcompany.com.