3.1-mile run honors organization namesake who would have been 31
The Sarah Grace Foundation for Children With Cancer, Inc. recently hosted its first ever virtual 5K race this spring, raising $4,800 to continue providing important programs and services for children and families affected by pediatric cancer. Given the fact the goal of the Hicksville-based nonprofit organization is to improve the quality of life of children with cancer and provide comfort and support to families of children suffering from cancer, achieving this mission statement became that much more challenging in the midst of a pandemic.
“With what happened with COVID-19 in the past year, we’ve had to get pretty creative with our fundraising,” Foundation President Matthew Weippert said. “We’ve had to go virtual with many of our fundraisers and regroup.”
The “Hugs for Sarah 2021 Virtual 5K” drew nearly 100 participants from all across the country showing their support. Locally, 20 participants came from the robotics team at Hicksville High School all walked the event together. All racers were encouraged to share photos from their own virtual 5k on social media with the hashtag #HugsForSarah5k and everyone received a personalized race bib and finishers medal.
“This certainly shows that in the almost 19 years we have been spreading Sarah’s story and supporting these wonderful children, word has traveled across the country about the good works being done in Sarah’s name,” Weippert said.
Matthew and Marissa Weippert lost their then 12-year-old daughter to nine-month battle with Acute Lympoblastic Leukemia in November 2002. Out of the ashes of that tremendous loss came the Sarah Grace Foundation For Children With Cancer. The significance of the Hugs for Sarah 2021 Virtual 5K race is that the distance equates to 3.1 miles and this year the organization’s namesake would have turned 31 years old on March 31. All proceeds from the race will support the programs and activities of this all-volunteer organization.
Core programs include The Escape Hatch, Gabe’s Chemo Duck, The Bead Program, Sarah Grace’s Book Angels and holiday toy distributions. The Foundation also provides financial aid for families, including meals, transportation, household expenses and funeral expenses. The foundation raises roughly $50,000 annually and is constantly stretching out these funds to directly help between 100 to 125 families every year. And that doesn’t factor in the hundreds of toys and Halloween-related goodie bags sent out to all the area hospitals on Long Island and in New York City. Weippert was pleased with how this first-time event went.
“We’re thrilled with how successful the event was and with how much fun people had sharing their photos online,” Weippert said. “The results have inspired us to hopefully continue events like these as we continue our mission to support children with cancer.”
Visit www.thesarahgracefoundation.org/shop-donate/ if you would like to donate online. If you would prefer to mail in a donation, it can be mailed to the Foundation at 17 East Old Country Rd., Unit B, PMB 202, Hicksville NY 11801.
Visit www.thesarahgracefoundation.org or call 516-433-9745 to find out more about the Sarah Grace Foundation.