McKenzie's Run draws more than 3,000 people

Run honors life of 15-year-old Jacksonville student

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - More than 3,000 people came out to walk and honor the life of a Jacksonville teenager. McKenzie Wilson, a student at the Bolles School, suffered a seizure in August 2010 at age 15 and died unexpectedly.

The family says doctor's haven't been able to pinpoint the exact cause of death.

Dan Holland says he came out to support the run because his daughter worked with McKenzie's father.

"We just decided it would be a good thing to support the McKenzie Run," Holland says. "It's a good program so we really liked it."

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley was the Coach of the 4th annual McKenzie's Run. The 5K run and walk and one-mile fun run started at 9:30 a.m. at EverBank Field and finished inside the stadium, where participants watched themselves cross the 50 yard line on the JumboTron.

The McKenzie Foundation Programs Manager Mercede New says the event has grown tremendously over the last four years.

"We went from about 2,000 participants to today, I don't have the final number yet, but I know we're over 3,300 participants."

Immediately following the run there was a celebration with live music, games, an inflatable obstacle course, face painting, awards ceremony and an autograph signing by Jaguar's ROAR Cheerleaders.

New says its an amazing cause.

"It just goes to tell us that that cause is being told all over Jacksonville," New says. "Our mission is to help young people recognize their full potential."

The annual all-ages event benefits The McKenzie Noelle Wilson Foundation, a local nonprofit organization that unites and mobilizes young people throughout our community to care for others and give to those in need, both locally and globally.

Locally, the foundation operates two McKenzie's Academic Resource Centers, with the help of teen and teacher volunteers. The resource centers provide free mentoring and academic programs to over 300 elementary, middle and high school students living in two Jacksonville communities. Globally, the foundation has built three orphanages in Uganda, Africa. The orphanages, called Amaka ga McKenzie–Lugandan for McKenzie's Home, care for over 50 children.

For more information about the Foundation or how you can help, visit

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