For SKHS student, CF Hero 5K Fun Run is a personal quest

Piper Willson has paired with her DECA school partner to organize event

PORT ORCHARD — South Kitsap High DECA students Joseph Laws and Piper Willson will be hosting the inaugural CF Hero 5K run/walk event to raise money for cystic fibrosis on Saturday, Sept. 28, at the McCormick Woods Clubhouse.

The event will start at 9 a.m. All proceeds go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Willson’s participation is personal. At age 7, her close friend was diagnosed with CF. At that age, the acronym CF had little meaning to her until one day, her mother had to explain that her friend wouldn’t be able to live as long as her — in fact, she would be lucky to reach the age of 40.

That was a jolting piece of information for Willson, who said she was determined to do anything in her power to help her friend live a longer life. In response, she set up a lemonade stand in her neighborhood to raise money for new research on the rare disease. Without help, Piper raised more than $200 and donated it to the CF Foundation.

This year, Willson said she wants to do more. With the help of Laws, her school DECA partner, the pair organized a 5K run/walk to raise funds for the nonprofit organization. They contacted area businesses and organizations and were overwhelmed with support and sponsorships from throughout Kitsap County.

“We believe that our event will be a great way to bring everyone together as a community to support this great cause,” Willson said.

Check-in on Saturday morning is at 8:30 a.m. McCormick Woods Clubhouse is at 5155 McCormick Woods Drive SW in Port Orchard. Participants can register online if they wish at

While the effort will ultimately help those with CF, the pair have also designated it as their 2019 Community Service DECA project. Willson and Laws are active South Kitsap High DECA members and attended the 2018 Fall Leadership Conference in Bellevue and the 2019 DECA State Career Development Conference. Willson also is the vice president of Leadership for the South Kitsap DECA chapter.

DECA says its mission is to prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges internationally.