A legacy of caring

Annual 5K pays tribute to former nurse, Ike cross country coach

Photo submitted to the Times Observer Participants run down a street during the 15th annual Nyla Luvison Memorial 5K in Sugar Grove, July 8, 2017. The 16th edition of the event, a tribute to former Family Medicine of Sugar Grove nurse and Eisenhower cross country coach Nyla Luvison who passed away following a bout with melanoma in 2002, will be held July 14, 2018. All proceeds from the event are split evenly between the Cancer Care Center at Warren General Hospital and the Eisenhower cross country boosters.

Every community has a number of special people who always seem to be in the right place at the right time.

Whether that’s being there to assist with simple things like helping with an unexpected repair, organizing a meal train or giving that anonymous donation in a time of need. They’re a big reason why communities thrive.

Once in a while, one of those special people somehow becomes more. They so help to transform their community that their spirit lives on long after their physical presence is gone.

Sugar Grove’s Nyla Luvison was one of those transcendent souls, and her impact on the Sugar Grove community will be remembered again at the 16th annual Nyla Luvison 5K Run July 14.

Luvison, a nurse with Family Medicine and Eisenhower cross country coach, succumbed to cancer in 2002 and the annual 5K has been held every year since.

“(Luvison) dedicated her life to helping our communities obtain better health through her work at Family Medicine, coaching EHS sports and missions work,” Fred Backhus, race committee member, said. “Nyla lost her life to melanoma, but her dedication and spirit lives on.”

One way her caring spirit has lived on is through her daughter, Amanda. Amanda recently graduated from Mercyhurst North East with a RN-BSN, and is now a nurse in the medical oncology unit at UPMC Hamot.

“I grew up in the healthcare field, but it wasn’t until 1997 that I saw first-hand the positive difference that nurses can make,” Amanda recently wrote for Mercyhurst North East. “My mother was diagnosed with melanoma. She was such an amazing woman that she turned her struggle and suffering into teaching moments because she knew I wanted to follow in her nursing footsteps.”

Amanda has seen first-hand, even some 16 years after her mother’s passing, the difference Nyla made in people’s lives.

“To this day, I meet people who say how she had changed their lives and how grateful they are that their lives crossed paths,” she wrote.

The memorial 5K attracts runners from across the region and had more than 120 participants last year. Participants have come from Ohio, New York and Florida in the past, and some former Pennsylvania State cross country champions have run as well.

“We have many returning participants every year that love this race,” Backhus said. “The course is through and around Sugar Grove and is reported to be tough, but fair. We have had quite a few past state champions participate throughout the years. Therefore, the race is very competitive and the times are low.”

Registration will begin at 8 a.m. at the Sugar Grove fire hall, with the race scheduled for a 9:30 a.m. start. A kids fun run and chicken barbecue will be held following completion of the 5K. Proceeds from both the race registration fee ($20) and the cost of the barbecue ($10) are split equally and benefit the Cancer Care Center at Warren General Hospital and the Eisenhower cross country team. To date, more than $30,000 has been donated to the Cancer Care Center, earning “Acorn” status for the race.

“Even though she is no longer with us, she is still helping those in need,” Amanda wrote. “She is the reason that I am a nurse. She and all the other amazing nurses who were there for us during such a tragic time.”

Registration forms can be found at:

“http://www.smileymiles.com/2018/APP071418%20Nyla%20Luvison%20Memorial%205K.pdf” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>http://www.smileymiles.com/2018/APP071418%20Nyla%20Luvison%20Memorial%205K.pdf