People brave the weather to participate in Can-Do event | Slideshow

As the rain splashed down on the runners during the final race of the day, Susanna Smith gave it her all from start to finish. Sporting a multi-colored raincoat, she pumped her arms and legs to the hilt and closed out last Saturday’s Can-Do kids’ dashes with a smile that received a cheer from the crowd.

Her dad, Eric, noted that his special-needs girl also participated in the 1-mile walk at the fourth annual Northwest Special Families (NSF) and Northshore YMCA event that took place at the Seattle Times building in Bothell. Also on tap were a 5K run/walk, a 10K run and a 1K youth run.

“We’re so proud of Susanna, because she ‘can do’ it — she gets up every day and does a great job with all the things that she has to do,” said Eric of Edmonds.

“It was good,” said Susanna, 9, who was joined at the event by her sister, Chloe, 12, who tackled the 5K and kids’ dash, as well.

NSF’s Natalia Bynum estimated that more than 1,000 people participated in the event (1,442 registered), which raises funds for NSF’s programs for the Center for Human Services and the Northshore Y’s annual campaign, Partners with Youth, and to create inclusive and adaptive programming there. Bynum said they are on target to raise more than $22,000.

“It was great to see everybody coming out in the rain. Watching people coming across the finish line, it’s really a community event celebrating what we all can do,” Bynum said.

Over at the Northshore Wranglers booth, Judy Gratton said the people with the nonprofit special recreation and services program backed all the runners and walkers during the event, which featured people with and without disabilities.

“It’s gone very well — I am so proud of them,” Gratton said. “As the mother of someone with disabilities, I know how hard it is just to do day to day (tasks). So especially to bring those individuals out on a freezing-cold raining day and get them to walk or run this sort of thing is really a miracle.”

Added Glennona Hoover of Woodinville, who cut tags off runners’ shoes as they concluded the 5K: “It’s just thrilling to see all that they do in order to support each other — it’s wonderful.”

Aside from a throng of Northshore participants, Zoe Allen came to town from Kent to run the 5K with her husband and cheer him on along with all the others involved.

“It’s for such a great cause, and it’s really fun seeing the kids run and just be active and show families that you can be active together,” she said.

Bothell Mayor Mark Lamb was on hand to start the event and Rep. Derek Stanford of Bothell showed up later to dole out awards to the 5K and 10K run winners.

Lindsay Trieb and her workmates from Trader Joe’s in Totem Lake got involved by handing out bananas and other fruit to runners as they crossed the finish line.

“It’s really inspiring. I work with a couple of young ladies who are handicapped, and it’s honestly inspiring to see people get through something like that. And to be able to come out here and support is a really big deal for us,” she said. “It’s great to watch them be so excited about just finishing a mile. I’ve really enjoyed it.”

Although she couldn’t attend the event, Gabrielle Kruegar, a 6-year-old with a severe seizure disorder, was there in spirit via her friends, the Gersons, Meghann and her daughter, Lily.

Wearing signs on their backs that said, “I’m walking for my friend Gabby,” they were proud to be at the Can-Do while Gabby was in Children’s Hospital.

“We decided to walk today because she can’t walk herself and her mom can’t be here to walk for her,” Meghann said.

“It’s very emotional, to be totally honest,” she continued, noting that the rain was tough on Lily. “I kept reminding her that if Gabby could walk here, she would today.”

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