NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – The New York City Marathon isn’t the only race of note this month in Central Park. The Ronald McDonald House New York Kids Charity Fun Run is this Saturday.
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They run with passion and purpose – children helping children.
“We started twelve years ago with fifty kids. We’re now at 1,000 kids from inner city schools and private schools, who all raise money through running this race and it’s really a fun run,” said Yonkers firefighter Jeff Campion and Ronald McDonald House volunteer. “I don’t like to call it a race because everybody gets a ribbon and prize and they bring in funds for the Ronald McDonald House. If you go through cancer care with your child, the bills are staggering. So, now add on a hotel room for anywhere from a month to a year while your child is going through cancer treatments in Manhattan.”
Ronald McDonald House is home away from home for children being treated for cancer.
This Saturday’s event in Central Park a mini-marathon of sorts, featuring lengths ranging from 220 yards to 1 mile.
The children themselves scrape together pledges. “The whole world is so busy, but when you see children taking time out to raise money for [the] less fortunate, that’s inspirational,” said Campion. “Some of the kids will give up their chore money to give to the less fortunate — one child told me that he’s having a birthday party and all the gifts that he gets for his birthday, he wants to give the gifts to the Ronald McDonald House kids.”
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In spite of their illnesses and exhausting treatments, some of the children muster the strength to run.
“Children just want to be children. Some kids really don’t get it that they’re sick and they will not be stopped,” said Campion. “They just want to play. They want to be like other kids, but they can’t. So, when they get the opportunity to be out with other children that aren’t affected by cancers and by disease, you can see they’re beaming. Their smiles are ear-to-ear. They just want to be regular kids and they don’t want to be looked upon as ‘I’m sick’ or ‘I need help’ and a lot of kids who are running, they don’t want you to hold their hand and try to get them to the finish line. They will do it themselves and that’s the most amazing races to watch is a child who is striken with cancer, who is sick, who just did six months of chemo come out and run that race, that is a miracle.”
Campion added, “I think the most amazing thing I see in the park that day is when the children from the Ronald McDonald House who are healthy enough run in the race and the kids from all around Manhattan schools rally support and run with them, help them run. Just the camaraderie of being a child is one of the most amazing things from looking outside the box and watching the magic that takes place day in and day out at the Ronald McDonald House let alone the race that we have. The three words we like to use are love, courage, and support.”
The opening ceremony for the run is Sat. November 12, 2011 at 9:30 a.m. To learn more, visit the official page HERE.
Have you ever participated in an even involving Ronald McDonald House? Share your story in the comments section below.