BANGOR, Maine — Erin Woolley wanted to spend her life protecting women from abuse, but cancer cut her dreams short at age 26.
Now, a group of Woolley’s friends want to continue her fight and are planning a 5K road race to raise awareness and funding to combat domestic violence.
The race will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 27, along the Bangor Waterfront.
Woolley was a 2002 Bangor High School graduate who went on to major in women’s studies at the University of Maine. After graduation, she took a job at Spruce Run, an agency founded in 1973 that serves people affected by domestic violence and abuse.
“She was a very strong advocate for women, and wanted to make a career out of that,” said Ben Sprague, a Bangor city councilor and high school classmate of Woolley’s who is involved in planning for the race, along with a group of about a dozen of Woolley’s friends and family members.
After a year at Spruce Run, Woolley decided to further her education at the Vermont Law School. She died March 16, 2010, just months before she would have earned her diploma.
Woolley documented her fight with cancer in an online blog.
The law school awarded Woolley a Juris Doctorate posthumously and created a scholarship in her memory.
All race proceeds will be donated to Spruce Run and a UMaine scholarship fund set up through the swimming and diving team, of which Woolley was a member.
There is a $25 fee for runners, who will get a T-shirt, and prizes will be handed out to winners of the age and gender groups. Other donations will be accepted.
“While Erin is no longer personally able to pursue her goals, her legacy and dedication to women is carried on by those who have agreed to participate in or donate money to this event,” Sprague said.
For information or to register for the 5K, visit www.erinsrun.org.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.