Morton’s St. Jude runners are preparing to lace up their running shoes in support of a worthy cause for a second year.
Kim Hart, committee member and runner for the Morton to Peoria St. Jude satellite run, has been involved both years.
“Last year we had about 38 and this year we’re right about 60,” she said. “We’re really excited about it. It’s really grown.”
Each individual runner is asked to raise a minimum of $750, and couples $1,000, to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which turns no family away regardless of their ability to pay for services. The hospital’s daily operating costs exceed $1.6 million.
“We’ve been extremely pleased, and almost overwhelmed with the support we’ve received,” she said. “It’s just been phenomenal how many people want to be involved.”
Runners participating in the Aug. 6 satellite run will meet at Parker Fabrication in Morton. At 8 a.m., they will begin the 32.26-mile trek through the streets of Morton, ending at the Peoria Civic Center. With about 23 of those miles ran within Morton, Hart said community support is key.
“Fortunately, last year we had neighborhoods that we ran through where people had water stations set up for us and they had signs,” she said. “It was a really supportive environment.”
The caravan stops every 3-to-5-miles to swap runners with those waiting their turn in the buses that follow during the relay-style event.
“Or runners can stay out and run the whole thing if they want, which some people did last year,” she said.
Runners will convene with other satellite runners and watch the Memphis-to-Peoria runners come in at the Peoria Civic Center to kick off the telethon.
“It’s just a really neat experience,” Hart said.
Last year, Morton to Peoria runners raised $45,100, which was donated during a check presentation the night of the telethon.
“We would like to raise over $50,000, but hopefully it’ll be a lot more than that,” she said, adding that by doubling the amount of runners this year she hopes that number will be closer to $75,000.
To reach that goal, Hart said there are added fundraisers this year, which include a dueling pianos and silent auction event July 16 at Red Rock Bar and Grill. Doors for the event open at 6:30 p.m. when the silent auction will begin. Dueling pianos will begin playing at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased from runners or at the door.
Supplies are provided for runners to start a letter-writing campaign for their fundraising efforts. Online fundraising is also available at www.stjudepeoriaruns.org.
“I’ve been fortunate to have healthy children but it’s just very comforting to know that there is a place like St. Jude that exists,” she said. “The more support we get, the more research that can be done to help find cures for childhood illnesses like cancer.
Page 2 of 2 - “This is a really uplifting event and we’re all in it to raise money for the kids.”
To help out or for more information, call run coordinator Matt Parker at 453-5315.