When Ponte Vedra Beach resident Paul Wilson came up with the idea to run 55 miles to raise $5,000 for Wolfson Children’s Hospital after his newborn son, Luke, received life-saving surgery in 2010, he never dreamed that just five years later over $2 million – and counting – would be raised. But just like the great things that happen every day at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, they also happen when a community rallies together.
The community will do just that for the sixth year in a row as participants gather at EverBank Field on January 31st for the fun-filled event that celebrates Wolfson Children’s Hospital. Aside from the change in location this year, a few other modifications have been made including the distance of the Ultra Marathon and Relay, which will be 55K (34.1 miles) long, and a new individual 30K (18.6 mile) run. Runners and teams also will have the opportunity for the first time to register for a start time by using their predicted pace so they can be released in waves to enable more efficient pacing.
Presented by RPM Automotive, the family-oriented event is a major fundraiser for Wolfson Children’s Hospital, the region’s not-for-profit pediatric referral center which serves tens of thousands of children of all ages each year, and includes centers of distinction in cancer, congenital heart disease, neurosciences, neonatology, orthopaedics and behavioral health, as well as many other services. It also is an opportunity to honor 55 children who have benefited from the life-saving and live-changing services the hospital provides.
About two weeks before the Wolfson Children’s Challenge, WJXT-TV will host a Telethon on January 15, 2014, from 6 am to 11:30 pm, featuring these patients’ stories. To make a donation, please call 904.348.6022 or 800.366.9598 (WJXT) during the telethon.
January 31st’s events include:
• 55K (34.1 mile) Ultra Marathon/Relay
• 30K (18.6 mile) Individual Run (New)
• 1-mile Fun Run
• Visit from dogs with the Wolfson Children’s Hospital Auxiliary Pet Therapy Program
• “Ask the Pharmacist”
• Bounce houses
• Appearances by Wolfie, Wolfson Children’s Hospital’s mascot
• Plant potting with Home Depot
• Gymnastics with My Gym
• Educational presentation and animals from the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
• Free live entertainment
In 2014, a thousand people participated in all of the running events raising more than $320,000. To date the event has raised enough money to purchase a 3 Tesla MRI, an MRI with 10 to 15 times the strength of a low field or open MRI, which translates into sharper images that allow for better evaluation of conditions involving the brain, spine and musculoskeletal system.
Proceeds from this year’s activities will be used toward the purchase of a Nuclear Medicine SPECT/CT camera, and will help fund a technology support endowment. A portion of all gifts to the Wolfson Children’s Challenge will be matched by Baptist Health for the Wolfson Children’s Challenge Endowment. For more information, please contact Baptist Health Foundation, 904.202.2919.
To register or find out more about the Wolfson Children’s Challenge, visit http://www.wolfsonchildrenschallenge.org. To support our cause, you also can find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/wolfson55.