By Jason Wesseldyk
The fifth—and final—version of Delaney’s Run took place at Otsego High School’s West Campus on Saturday, July 23.
Family members, friends and former classmates were among the dozens of people who showed up to honor the memory and legacy of Delaney Bush, who passed away unexpected at the age of 18 in July 2017.
“We were really happy with the turnout,” said Erin Bush, Delaney’s mother. “We’re honored and humbled that people still come out. It was wonderful to have connections with so many people that Delaney touched during her life: high school and college friends, runners and people from the Otsego cross country community, dance, our family friends and other friends of friends and community members.
“It was inspiring to see so many people out walking and running and having a nice time. And there were a lot of dogs, too. Delaney would have enjoyed it.”
Bush served as captain of the Otsego girls cross country team in 2015 and 2016, with the Bulldogs winning state championships each year. At the time of her death, she had a streak of more than three years during which she ran/jogged at least one mile each day.
It was Bush’s passion for running that led to the first Delaney’s Run in 2018 to mark the one-year anniversary of her passing.
“It’s a special person who can make so many connections and close friendships in such a short life,” Erin Bush said. “We can all learn from her love and enthusiasm for all things, large and small. She made every day a great day, and that legacy affected all those she came in contact with.”
Delaney’s Run has taken place each subsequent year, with donations made at the free event helping to fund the Delaney M. Bush Scholarship Fund.
But Bush’s parents and siblings decided this should be the final year of the run.
“Our family is growing up, as are all of Delaney’s friends,” Erin Bush said. “They’re getting married, moving away and starting their own families. We didn’t want the run to slowly fade out, so we made the decision to end it this year.”
While Delaney’s Run will no longer take place, the family knows Bush’s legacy will continue to live on through those that knew her and through the scholarship named in her honor.
“The scholarship is fairly well endowed now, but we want to find a way to honor and remember Delaney that also helps give back to the Otsego community,” Erin Bush said. “We hope that we’re able to keep expanding the awards over time.”
This year, Bush’s family chose three members of the Otsego High School graduating class of 2022 to receive a scholarship: Kaitlyn Payseno received a two-year scholarship for $1,000 per year, while Lucas Badiner and Emma Conniff each received a one-year scholarship of $1,000.
To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be planning to study a science-related field in college.
According to Erin Bush, determining the scholarship recipients wasn’t an easy task.
“As a family, we read all the applications and select seven or eight promising ones,” Erin Bush said. “We take the names off their essays and send them to our extended family and close friends. We then take the results and use that to make selections.
“Each year, there are some amazing students. But these three really stood out for their ethics and morals, in addition to their commitment to scholarship, science and change.”
If you’d like to make a donation to the Delaney M. Bush Scholarship, you can do so by visiting the website for the Otsego School Foundation at https://www.opsfoundation.org/.
Erin Bush also wants to spread the word when it comes to Sudden Unexplained Death in Children (SUDC).
“Many people are still unaware and/or amazed that there is still no explanation for Delaney’s death,” Erin Bush said. “She simply went to bed and never woke up.
“We are now part of the SUDC community. The layman’s, easy way to understand it is that this is SIDS but for children ages one through 18. The SUDC Foundation works to help families and communities to better understand this despite no public funding.”
More information can be found about SUDC at https://sudc.org/.