Allie Cat Run and Festival raises record amount

Bill Graham / The Meridian Star 

The organizers of the Allie Cat Run and Festival announced on Thursday that they raised a single-year record of $93,000 at the fifth annual event. Pictured are William Carruth with his parents, Leslie and Bill Carruth. 


More than five years after her tragic death, Allie Carruth’s legacy lives on through her family’s commitment to helping others.

The organizers of the Allie Cat Run and Festival announced on Thursday that they raised a single-year record of $93,000 at their fifth annual event.

Leslie Carruth, her husband Bill, and their son William, along with many volunteers and sponsors, joined the celebration at Jean’s in Meridian.

The run honors Allie Carruth, who lost her life in a tragic accident in 2017, but saved two lives with her organ donation.

The Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency will receive $25,000 of the money raised.

Leslie Carruth emphasized the importance of their mission in this area.

“There are over 100,000 people waiting on organ donations,” she said. “We want to raise awareness about giving the gift of life.”

The Carruths also announced the $5,000 scholarship recipient from the funds raised.

Hays Monsour, who received a kidney from a living donor, will attend the University of Southern Mississippi.

Monsour said he was honored to receive the scholarship.

“I was surprised when they announced I was the scholarship recipient at our school’s awards ceremony,” he said. “This scholarship means a lot to me because I can personally relate to the cause behind it. At college, I plan to make good grades and live life in a way that honors Allie.”

Monsour’s mother Kathryn agreed.

“It’s not lost on me that our friends’ baby, who was our own baby’s friend, lost her life in a tragic accident, but she saved the lives of others with organ donation,” she said. “This scholarship will help send Hays to college where he and Allie can continue to impact others. Words of gratitude are not enough to adequately express what this scholarship means to both Hays and our family.”

The Community Foundation of East Mississippi will also benefit from the Carruths’ gift. Funds will be used to award community grants in their third quarter.

Leigh Thomas, Executive Director, says the gift is the perfect example of how the Foundation serves the community.

“When people have a cause they are passionate about and the skills to organize events and services, the Community Foundation can help by accepting donations, receipting donors, managing the funds which along with other funds are invested, audited, and tax documents filed,” she said. “This enables people like the Carruths to do what they do. The Community Foundation is really just a tool to bring together donors who care with causes that matter.”

Beginning Aug. 1, the Allie Cat Run and Festival Community grant will begin taking applications from nonprofit and school organizations serving Lauderdale County residents. All types of nonprofits are encouraged to apply with new ideas or existing programs. The application deadline will be Sept. 30 for this annual competitive grant. The application will be available on the CFEM website:

Leslie Carruth told the crowd that the celebration was due to their efforts.

“This record amount is all about you,” she emphasized. “All of this could not be done without the people in this room. It is so humbling, so special. We are so honored that you show your love to our community in honor of Allie, even after five years,” she added.

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