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Annual 'Never Quit' 5K raises health awareness

The Never Quit nonprofit organization held its annual 5K run or walk Saturday in Downtown Jacksonville
The Never Quit nonprofit organization held its annual 5K run or walk Saturday in Downtown Jacksonville (Never Quit)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Never Quit nonprofit organization held its annual 5K run or walk Saturday in Downtown Jacksonville.

The 5K event was created to help the organization educate the community on how to avoid brain bleeds, stroke and heart disease through healthy life choices and try encourage everyone to take on a “never quit” attitude, and live life to its fullest.

The Never Quit organization was created after Capt. Gerard Petroni’s stroke and brain bleed in November 2006. He couldn’t speak, eat or walk. Six months later, while his son Erik laid next to him in bed reading to him, he asked his father, “Dad, if you could write anything, the words that are the most important to you, to tell all of your kids and your wife, what would you write?” 

Erik said he handed his father a paper and a sharpie, and over the next 25 minutes he slowly scratched out “never quit.”

“This is a great event. (I) Heard a lot of information earlier about how we should never quit and doing the right thing makes a difference in life,” Derek Blanding, with the Army Corps of Engineers, said. “There are people out here running right now for different reasons, for different beliefs.”

Free hypertension information checks were provided for Never Quit attendees and the community as a whole to help people identify if they could be hypertensive.

“Information about what's going on. This is a run for health,” Blanding saud. “We had a Normandy veteran here who was actually at the beaches of Normandy -- Great to see. They brought him up on stage and just reminds us those American's, those military men who fought for this country in World War 2, they never quit”

The 5K event started at the Jacksonville Beach SeaWalk Pavilion at the southern end of the Four Points Sheraton.