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Tommy's Speed Walk Celebrates Life of Westonka Teen
The BeLikeTommy Project presented the Westonka Public Schools with five new AED machines on June 12. Pictured, from left, are Kevin Nash, Westonka School Board member Gary Wollner, District Nurse Kelly Mattson, Nicole Nash, Lizzy Nash, Addison Nash and Lauren Nash.
Click on the above image for more photos of the event.
July 13, 2022 — Over 500 community members and friends gathered June 12 in memory of 14-year-old Tommy Nash by participating in Tommy’s Olympic Speed Walk. This event was intended to be a fun celebration of Tommy's life, to keep his fun and creative spirit alive while raising money to support the BeLikeTommy Project.
Tommy Nash was a ninth grader at Mound Westonka High School when he passed away in December 2021 from sudden cardiac arrest. He was known for his inclusiveness, kindness and for bringing joy to others. To honor Tommy, the Nash family created the BeLikeTommy Project and planned the first event because of his interest in speed walking.
“We want to thank each of you who helped support that day, whether you showed up to speed walk, sponsored us financially, or donated your time or talent, this inaugural event could not have been a success without you,” said Kevin Nash, Tommy’s dad. “We are so grateful for each and every one of you.”
In addition to planting The Tommy Tree in the front lawn of MWHS, the event was a joyous celebration that included dancing, singing, a visit to Tommy’s gravesite, a bounce house, a rainbow of flowers, food and one of Tommy’s favorite pastimes, speed walking.
One of the goals of Tommy’s Olympic Speed Walk was to raise money and awareness for the BeLikeTommy Project. Kevin and his wife, Nicole, were thrilled to report that the event raised more than $18,000! With the success of this inaugural event, the Nash family has already made plans to make the walk an annual event.
Funds raised will go directly to the BeLikeTommy Project to help further its mission, which includes promoting inclusion and acceptance of all people, especially those who others tend to leave behind; selflessly bringing joy to others through a creative sense of humor, and advancing the research and diagnostic approaches of adolescent sudden cardiac death.
Tommy suffered sudden cardiac arrest because of a genetic arrhythmia, and immediate access to an automated external defibrillator (AED) would have been the only hope he had to survive. An AED is a medical device designed to analyze the heart rhythm and deliver an electric shock to victims of ventricular fibrillation to restore the heart rhythm to normal. The BeLikeTommy Project was able to provide Westonka Public Schools with five brand new AED devices.
“We hope to help local schools and other facilities stay up-to-date on the availability of this life-saving device,” said Kevin.
The BeLikeTommy Project also plans to support The Trevor Project, which mirrors their own mission of promoting inclusion and acceptance through their emotional and mental support of LGBTQ youth in crisis. “This was a cause close to Tommy’s heart and we are happy such a strong advocacy program exists for at-risk youth who are in need of help,” said Kevin.
Through the project, the Nash Family will also give back to the community in various ways, including an annual scholarship to be awarded to a graduating senior who best demonstrates what it means to #BeLikeTommy.
“We are fortunate that Tommy and his sisters have had such a wonderful high school experience,” said Kevin. “The support from the Westonka community and the faculty and staff at MWHS following Tommy’s death has been overwhelming.”
To learn more and to stay informed on upcoming events for the BeLikeTommy Project, please visit www.BeLikeTommy.org.