Even two years after her son’s death, friends are still posting on his Facebook page.
“You just look at it and you go, ‘Wow,’” Thea Anderson said. “It’s phenomenal.”
As the April 9 anniversary approaches, friends and family members continue to mourn Stephen Anderson and Keegan Aiazzi, juniors at Carson High School who died together in a scuba-diving accident. But, Anderson said, the untimely death of the two best friends has also reaffirmed the sanctity of life.
“You have to make every day count,” she said, “because life is fragile. You take for granted that you have all the time in the world, and you don’t.”
That’s the message she wants the community to embrace during the second annual Stephen and Keegan Run, set for April 13. The run is dedicated not just to the memory of the two boys, but to those of all who have been lost. Participants are encouraged to write the names of their loved ones on their race bibs. Proceeds go to help athletes at Carson High School pay for their gear.
Anderson said she wants to keep the celebratory spirit going from last year, when 350 racers came out. As music from the boys’ iPods blared over the loudspeakers, it was not a time of somber mourning.
“That wasn’t Stephen and Keegan,” Anderson explained. “That was never them. If you’re honoring their memory, you’re celebrating life.”
This year’s run, sponsored by Kaia F.I.T. will begin at High Sierra Brewery, 302 N. Carson St., with a 5K and 10K course in west Carson City.
“It’s a beautiful place to run,” said Darnette Hoag, manager for Carson City and Minden Kaia F.I.T. “We’re hoping for a great turnout.”
Registration will open at 7 a.m. and the run will begin at 8 a.m., and feature music, food and raffle prizes. Entry fees are $30 for adults and $10 for youth 18 and under.
“It should be a super fun event,” Hoag said. “And it’s super affordable, so the whole family can come out.”
Anderson said local businesses were generous in offering raffle prizes.
“This community is seriously awesome,” Anderson said.
She said the boys would have been pleased to see last year’s run and to see the tradition continue.
“They would probably be going, ‘Sweet, check it out. This is for us,’” she said. “And they would have loved it. Anything with food, they would be there.”
And the lifelong athletes would be happy, she said, to help others have the chance they had to play high school sports and develop similar relationships.
“You look at the Facebook posts and kids say, ‘Hey, man, we miss you every day,’” Anderson said. “That’s what it’s about, finding those friendships that last a lifetime.”