Jacob MacDonald

Jacob MacDonald wore No. 34 on the Dassel-Cokato football team. He also was a baseball player and competed in wrestling. MacDonald died from a peanut allergy reaction in 2017, and now his mother is raising money to help other families in need.

Bonni and Marcus Halverson of Darwin have a mission to help families facing hard times.

That’s why she started Jacob’s Way of Life 5K in memory of her son, Jacob MacDonald, a 15-year-old Dassel-Cokato student who died of a peanut allergy reaction in 2017.

“I feel like that was what Jacob was all about,” Halverson said, “giving back and just being there for everybody, and being such a leader. When we went through this, so many people from all the area communities helped our family, whether it was saying prayers or sending gas cards.”

Halverson described her son as “kind of the kid everyone wanted” and as someone who was “so full of life.” He played football, baseball and wrestled in high school.

“He was the first one to help in any kind of situation,” Halverson said. “Stood up for many kids that I heard about after.”

This is the second year of the memorial 5K, which is Saturday, Oct. 5, at the Dassel Rod and Gun Club, 70560 229th Street, Dassel. Check-in and same-day registration begins at 8 a.m., and the race starts at 10 a.m. Money raised from the event goes to help local families facing financial hardship.

More than 650 people helped raise $16,500 for 12 families during last year’s event. Those families were in communities such as Litchfield, Dassel, Cokato, Winsted, Arlington, Howard Lake and Annandale.

“People have come to us,” Halverson added. “So I’ve contacted local school districts like social workers asking if there’s anyone going through anything. I’ve gotten names of people to donate through the schools.”

The cost for the 5K is $20 and includes a T-shirt, race entry and lunch. To learn more about Jacob’s Way of Life, visit its Facebook page, or to register for the 5K go to tinyurl.com/yycvt3dc.

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