STARKVILLE — When Linda Bell started a foundation in her late son Nick’s honor, she envisioned it inspiring people to do their own good works.
Bell has worked tirelessly organizing a seven-member board and establishing beneficiaries of the Nick Bell Memorial Mentoring Foundation following the former Mississippi State football player’s death from a rare form of cancer on Nov. 2, 2010.
A great deal of her day is trying to partner with corporations and finding donors for the multiple school programs the foundation sponsors.
And when donors reach out to her, she knows the foundation is on course with its mission.
Bell recently received a phone call from MSU Student Association President Rhett Hobart, who told her the university and athletic department will partner to host the Nick Bell 3.6 Mile Run on Wednesday.
More than 100 people signed up during the pre-registration period this week, and late registration will be from 4:45-5:30 p.m. on race day. The entrance fee is $20 and the race begins at 6 p.m.
“I’m so used to people coming up to me and introducing themselves because they either knew Nick or heard about him,” said Linda Bell, who established a pair of scholarships in Nick’s name at MSU earlier this year. “But when Rhett came up to me during the UAB game and told me what the plan was, it was an amazing, indescribable feeling.”
All funds raised from the run — 3.6 miles signifies Nick Bell’s former jersey number — will go directly to the foundation. Linda Bell said she would have a foundation booth set up on race day where she will take donations for “Nick Bell: Bulldog Forever” bracelets.
Plans for the run were finalized three weeks ago and the race will take place only one day from the anniversary of Nick Bell’s death. Hobart said organizing the run was a priority for his cabinet members well before October.
“Nick was a great guy, somebody that truly embodied the spirit of MSU,” Hobart said. “We want the entire student body to remember that. He was a well-liked guy who was respected on and off the field.”
The race will begin and end at Davis Wade Stadium. People will ring cowbells, showing each turn through campus. Mississippi State players will be able to witness the run following their practice that day.
Linda Bell said she spends a lot of time reflecting on the short period of time that’s passed since Nick’s death. Anytime she makes a significant stride with the foundation, she’s encouraged to keep plugging away.
“He’s not resting,” Linda Bell said, “he’s hard at work. So am I.”
The foundation has organized a similar run in Nick Bell’s native Birmingham on Dec. 3. The foundation has partnered with the Birmingham mayor’s youth council to organize the event. Funds from that race will benefit the Nick Bell Cancer Memorial Fund.
Anyone interested in donating to the foundation should visit nickbellfoundation.org.
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