Annual Angels Race Helps Heal Pain

Reporter: Danner Evans l Videographer: Brian Whitesell

Lynchburg, VA - It's hard to know what to do with the grief when you lose a loved one. How do you move past the mourning? One Forest family lost their oldest daughter and they turned their tears into a race in her honor.

For 10 years the Angels Race Triathlon has helped everyone who participates cope with death and celebrate the life of someone they have lost too.

In November 2002 Brittany Grover's life was cut short in a car accident. Four short months later, about 80 people gathered to honor the JF High School student for the first Angel's Race Triathlon in Lynchburg. Each person with their own angel, someone they'd lost, written on their bodies.

Her father Tim Grover, remembers that day.

"I was still in a fog," Grover said. "It was still very early for me. But just seeing that there were people who wanted to come out and not just honor Brittany, but honor people in their lives as well. It meant a whole lot because it was pretty miraculous it even happened."

Brittany's PE coach Jerome Loy is one of a handful who has crossed the finish line every single year.

"When we lost Brittany it was very, very, very difficult," Loy said. "I look at the Angels Race every day as something that -- it saves my life every day."

That's because Loy spends 365 days a year training.

"Every day that I swim, bike, run on a treadmill or shuffle around anywhere, hot yoga, whatever," Loy said. "I do it to stay in shape it's all for one event. The annual Angels Race."

"It's just really cool to see those folks year after year come back because I think they sense, truly, how they've been a part of it and made it grown," Grover said. "It wouldn't be what it is today without the Jerome's who have gotten other people involved."

With the 10th annual race just a couple of weeks away and already filled, Tim feels like his daughter is smiling down on what they've done.

"I try to finish each day thinking that there is something I would have done during the day that she would say, 'I'm proud of you. And I think that's what she'd say," Grover said.

All of the money raised goes to two memorial scholarship funds -- one in Brittany Grover's honor. That money goes to camps and conferences, even a daycare set up in her name in Uganda.

The other scholarship helps elementary school teachers in North Carolina and Virginia get supplies and resources.

The 10th annual Angels Race is April 22, kicking off at the Downtown YMCA.