Andrea Rainey was a Coeur d’Alene businesswoman who embraced running and outdoor recreation, helped rescue pugs and made many friends through volunteer work.
Even as a rare and aggressive form of cancer took its toll, Rainey was engaged in the running scene, volunteering and cheering runners at last year’s Ironman Coeur d’Alene.
She died of plasma cell leukemia in April. Rainey was 52.
On Saturday, friends will honor her life with a Coeur d’Alene fun run called the 12 Ks of Christmas. The 12-kilometer and 5-kilometer run on the Centennial Trail also will raise money for high school music programs in Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls.
Rainey co-founded the Trail of Terror Run held in Athol in October, and she brainstormed the 12 Ks of Christmas with her roommate and best friend, Tawnya O’Keefe.
The undetected cancer caused Rainey severe hip pain stemming from fractures in her back. Still, she ran two half-marathons in that condition, and she spent 12 hours volunteering with a broken back at Ironman in July 2014, the week before she was diagnosed, O’Keefe said.
Rainey underwent chemotherapy, radiation therapy of the spine and dialysis three times a week, O’Keefe said. “She fought this cancer with everything she had.”
“Her will to survive and spirit to beat this cancer was unequivocal,” O’Keefe continued. “She fought hard to her dying breath believing that if she ultimately didn’t survive, maybe her case would help discover a treatment that would help others.”
Rainey (pictured, right, in 2009) grew up near Seattle, studied at the University of Washington and moved to Coeur d’Alene, where she opened CDA Yarn and Fiber. She also started a pug rescue group to help the breed she loved.
Organizers intend to make the new run an annual event, said Tom Aylward, of Spirit Lake.
“We just want to keep her name alive,” Aylward said. “Everybody loved her, and she was a great volunteer.”
The run will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday at North Idaho College, Lot D, and head west on the Centennial Trail. High school musicians will sing for runners at each kilometer mark.
The entry fee is $20 for the 5K, $25 for the 12K. Register at 12 Ks of Christmas at Eventbrite; at Fleet Feet Sports, 511 Sherman Ave., Coeur d’Alene, from 2-6 p.m. Friday; or at NIC on race day starting at 7 a.m.
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