Anders Flaa is still having a profound impact in the community, two years after he died from brain cancer at the age of 14.
For the second consecutive year, Oak View Middle School teachers are organizing the Anders Flaa Memorial 5K Run/Walk with all proceeds going to student scholarships.
The run is Saturday, Oct. 12 at Oak View Middle School, 15400 Hanson Blvd. NW. Kids ages 10 and under will first run 400 meters at 9 a.m. and the 5K starts at 9:10 a.m. This is a non-official race with no official timing or tracking of finishers.
Registration for the kids run is $5 and the cost is $10 for the 5K. Race day registration is from 8-8:30 a.m. T-shirts are included with the registration fee.
Anders’ parents Brad and Marsha Flaa said the proceeds from the inaugural event were used to provide three $1,500 scholarships to graduating Andover High School seniors last year.
The three scholarships are the Anders Flaa Memorial Scholarship, Anders Flaa Love of Music Scholarship and the Anders Flaa Love of Sports Scholarship.
“Having teachers from Oak View Middle School volunteer to take the lead in a 5K fun run in Anders’ memory is a testament to the impact Anders had,” Brad said. “There’s no way we can properly thank them for doing this run. It is a blessing to our family and such a perfect way to benefit the kids from this amazing community at Andover High School.”
To find the registration form, visit the Oak View Middle School website and look for the link or search for “Anders Flaa Memorial 5K” on Facebook.
Sports and music
Anders started playing baseball at the age of five when his family was living in South Dakota and continued playing when the family moved to Columbus, Ohio, and then Andover. He played for the Andover Baseball Association and Gopher State fall ball from 2008 through 2010 and loved to play second base and be the pitcher, his parents said.
After he lost his two-year battle with brain cancer Aug. 13, 2011, the Andover Baseball Association worked with the city of Andover last year to rename the middle Andover Station North ballfield “Anders Field.”
He also loved football, but was only able to play in the fall of 2009. After an MRI found a tumor on his brain in December 2009, he would never play football again because the contact could have knocked out the shunt in his head.
When he was not on the athletic fields, he was a talented violinist who participated in the Anoka-Hennepin School District’s summer strings program. Besides the three scholarships to high school seniors, the Flaa family also was able to pay for two Oak View Middle School students to participate in this program, Brad and Marsha said.
Anders was in the Cub Scouts, so this year the family will sponsor a Pinewood Derby race for a local Cub Scout group.
“As a family, having constant, positive reminders of our son — the ball field, the race, scholarships — helps partially fill a hole that is left in our hearts and our family since losing him,” Brad said in an email.
“We also feel very strongly that keeping his legacy alive, and doing positive things for our community, is a continuation of the purposeful life Anders started.”
Eric Hagen is at firstname.lastname@example.org