When the Tacoma Free to Breathe 5K and 1-mile run/walk kicks off at Wright Park on Saturday, Sept. 19, one group of walkers will be there in honor of a beloved member of the Puyallup Indian Tribe who passed away from lung cancer in 2013. Judy Wright was a brilliant tribal historian and director of the tribe’s historic preservation department for more than 30 years, in addition to being a past Puyallup Tribal Council member. She passed away at age 72 after battling the disease for three years. Now her daughter Anlot Wright, a registered nurse and social services coordinator at the tribe’s House of Respect elders center, has assembled “Team Judy Wright” consisting of Wright and friends Regina Logan, Nell Reed, Lois Jacobs, Kristina Kubik, Huey and Logan Tougaw, Debbie John, Ruth Gallo and Chenoa Landry.
“Last year me and my friends decided to do 5k every month and I got in charge of finding them. Last year we picked Free to Breathe. I decided that since mom had lung cancer I’d put together a fundraiser for this year,” Wright said. “In the bigger picture, it’s about bringing awareness to the importance of cancer research and funding and getting the message out to support the people affected by it.”
Judy Wright attracted many friends both personally and professionally during her years serving her tribe. A warm and friendly woman, she was always eager to share her knowledge of the Puyallups and Coast Salish history and culture. She left a lasting impression on her tribal community and people across the country fortunate enough to know her and work with her. Fond memories of Judy Wright continue to be shared to this day, and the legacy she built for the tribe’s historic preservation efforts set a foundation that stands firm.
The team’s goal is to raise $10,000, which they are closing in on thanks to a $5,000 donation from the Tribal Council. Anyone wishing to donate to Team Judy Wright can do so at www.freetobreathe.org/tacoma and search for Team Judy Wright. Fundraising will remain open through Nov. 3.
Tacoma Free to Breathe begins with registration and check in at 7:30 a.m. and an opening rally at 8:40. The 5K run starts at 9 a.m., the 5K walk at 9:15 and the 1-mile walk at 9:20. For more information, visit www.freetobreathe.org.