Hundreds run to support injured student

‘This is what happens when love and community come together,’ dad says

rboone@theolympian.comMay 5, 2014 

Hundreds of people took part Sunday in a 5K fun run and fundraiser for Kellen McCauley, an Olympia High School graduate and sophomore at Washington State University who suffered a freak head injury last month while playing intramural softball.

In all, 844 people showed, many of them sporting the crimson and gray of WSU, to support Kellen and his family. Kellen’s parents, John and Jennifer, his younger brother, Brendan, his uncle, Jim, and cousin, Ryan, were also there.

“This is what happens when love and community comes together,” said John McCauley before the race, which started and ended at Olympia High School.

Race organizer Tessa Effland, along with 35 volunteers – she called them “Team Kellen” – helped put on Sunday’s 5K run, and like the McCauley family and others, Effland was amazed by the support. About 300 people preregistered for the race and more than 500 showed up Sunday.

Kellen McCauley was resting at home Sunday in Olympia and didn’t attend the race, but his brother, Brendan, said he is doing better. Kellen’s speech is improving, and although he still has some weakness on his left side, he can squeeze his fingers a bit on his left hand.

His brother said Kellen is walking with the assistance of a cane. It was spray-painted white to make it more “swag,” Brendan said.

Cousin Ryan had his hair cut short for Kellen, he said.

Kellen was injured playing in a softball game last month in Pullman.

His uncle, Jim McCauley, said Kellen scored a run in the game, then circled around the catcher to make his way back to the dugout when he was hit in the head by an overthrown ball intended for the catcher.

Kellen’s friends later noticed his slurred speech, and he eventually was taken to a hospital in Spokane where he underwent two surgeries to relieve pressure on his brain.

His parents said that when they pulled up to the high school on Sunday, they were overwhelmed and humbled by all the support.

John McCauley said the family is taking Kellen’s recovery step by step.

Effland said they requested a minimum donation of $10 during the run. Donations also are being accepted at

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403

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