Over 500 people showed up Saturday to the third annual Bee Positive 5k Run/Walk. The event was put together by Joe and Cathie Bernardi to honor the memory of their late daughter Kayla Bernardi, who passed away in March 2015. Kayla was born with Down-Syndrome and had heart problems and various open-heart surgeries at a very young age. Although Kayla endured a lot during her years she always remained very positive. Her attitude and eagerness to do as much as possible earned her the nickname “Busy Bee.” One of her main goals was to graduate high school, which she accomplished in Tucson, Arizona. Unfortunately, a month after graduating Kayla was diagnosed with Leukemia and passed way eight months later. In honor of their daughter’s life the Bernardis decided to do an event that would allow her memory to live on.
This year’s event raised an estimated $20,000 for the Kayla Bee Positive Foundation. A large portion will be donated to Jessica’s House. The nonprofit grief support organization has a special place in the hearts of the Bernardi family. It was going to be Kayla's first volunteer position after she graduated. After she died, the Bernardis found themselves needing the services Jessica's House provides.
The Foundation will also donate funds for scholarships at Turlock, Pitman and Atwater high schools and to the Stanislaus State Athletic Department for their Make-A-Wish involvement.