Steps Forward Fun Run/Walk supports student's family

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Doane and Crete community will come together to help raise money for the sister of sophomore John Celesky, Lauren Celesky on Sunday for the Steps Forward Fun Run. 

John is the middle child of five children. His oldest sibling, Lauren, who is 26-years old, was diagnosed with stage 4 cervical cancer in late September. 

“She (Lauren) was in the process of applying for jobs when initially diagnosed. It has since hindered her ability to get a job,” John said. 

Following her diagnosis, the Doane community has shown a great amount of support to him and his family. Senior Caitlyn Nelson contacted John about holding a fundraiser for his sister and their family. 

“Caitlyn called me and said ‘I have been wanting to do something like this for a long time, could we do this for your sister?’ and I was honestly speechless,” John said.

John’s fraternity, Alpha Pi Epsilon was contacted by Nelson and immediately agreed to help with the fundraiser in any way that they could. 

“Alpha Pi Epsilon is just beyond excited to be able to play a large part in the run,” senior and president of Alpha Pi Epsilon Matt Wilkinson said.

Junior Quinn Martin said he met John while rushing for the Apes. 

“I just love [John] with my whole heart,” Martin said. 

Martin said the fundraiser is important for both the Doane community and the Celesky family. 

“It’s important that we as a Doane community show him and the Celesky family that we are here for him,” Martin said. “He is a part of our family and his family is also our family.” 

The Steps Forward: Fun Run/Walk, as the fundraiser has been named, is open to all students and community members. 

“When people say we have 1,000 students, it’s not 1,000 strangers, it’s 1,000 close friends. It is 1,000 people that you want to remember for the rest of your life,” Martin said.

Wilkinson is excited to see the turnout of the event. 

“It will be tremendous to see the love and support people have to bring to the Celesky family,” Wilkinson said. “John Celesky has this incredible ability to work his way into peoples’ hearts. He is very sincere with the entire Doane community and I’d say that by and large, everyone sees that openness and sincerity and they meet it with happiness and love, things like that.”

The fundraiser will be on Sunday with registration starting at 2:30 p.m. and the run beginning at 3 p.m. at the United Church of Christ in Crete.

People who want to participate in the event can choose between a 5K run or a 1K walk for a $10 registration donation.

There will be hot chocolate, baked goods and wristbands available for free-will donation as well. 

To pre-register contact Caitlyn Nelson at or send your registration fee to the Steps Forward Venmo at @StepsForward-FunRun.