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Family honors late mother’s MSU legacy with a new 5K

Published: May. 5, 2021 at 8:46 PM EDT
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Mother’s Day is just a few days away.

It can be a day to thank and spoil your amazing mom.

But for the Kaneene family, this mother’s day they are honoring their late mother, Frances, by creating a brand new 5k with Michigan State University.

Studio 10 spoke with the children of Frances who say she was a mother for the whole community.

“Her students were her heart and her soul, they felt like her other sons and daughters to us,” said her daughter Tessa.

“The students were her babies and the people that she cared about, every year, she would go to graduation and support them,” added Kange, Frances’ daughter.

“She touched so many lives and had an impact on everyone,” said Tibia, her oldest son.

These three may be Frances’ biological children, but’s clear that Frances’ time as an undergraduate academic adviser at MSU- just expanded her motherhood to staff and students.

“Oftentimes, when there are students who could go home for Thanksgiving or Christmas or break, they would be at our house and have meals with us,” said Tessa. “She really took in her students as her own, she has such a special knack of finding the light and people and giving them the confidence to allow it to shine and then receiving it and magnifying it.”

After three decades at MSU, Frances retired in January 2020.

“I remember her saying that, she said when I leave, I will leave and never look back, but in a positive way,” said Tess. “She’s always felt like she loved her job. She had such a full career and was ready for that next step, unfortunately, didn’t last as long.”

After a long battle with cancer, Frances passed away just 8 months after retirement.

But family and friends are finding ways to honor her-like the Frances Kaneene Study Abroad Scholarship fund which will help pay for study abroad experiences.

“I think specifically that it’s tied to study abroad because she really encouraged students to do that. But also she herself was an immigrant and has experienced what it means to learn about different cultures,” said Kange. “What’s interesting about this fund is, not only does it recognize the work that she did, but also pushes forward what she had been trying to do for so many years, which is give more exposure to study abroad. "

Now her children are finding a new way to honor their mother’s legacy by raising money for the scholarship.

This fall, on Frances’ heavenly birthday, there will be a 5K.

“She really committed to running after she was diagnosed, she joined the playmakers running group,” said Tessa. “She would put up all the race bids in the basement, and she would write she loved about the race and what the cause was for. “

The event will begin with performances from the drumline and dance team.

After the race there will be live performances and lots of food.

“It’s a community event and the way that it’s planned, almost everyone can find something to do and enjoy and take away from it,” said Tibia.

The Frances Kaneene 5K will be at 9 a.m. on Sept. 12 at Hawk Island County Park.

For details or to sign up: https://runsignup.com/Race/Events/MI/Lansing/Frances5K .

You can donate to the Frances Kaneene Study Abroad Scholarship here:  https://givingto.msu.edu/gift/index.cfm?sid=9339 .

Copyright 2021 WILX. All rights reserved.

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