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5K brings together community for Riley Hospital for Children

| Monday, October 9, 2017

Students, faculty, parents and community members partook Sunday in the annual FT5K race, hosted by Saint Mary’s College Dance Marathon (SMCDM) in support of Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.

“SMCDM is in its 12th year, and this year is super special because it is our million-dollar year,” senior and vice president of SMCDM Kelly Geelan said. “That means that if we hit our goal this year we will have donated over one million dollars to Riley as an organization.”

For the first time, SMCDM introduced a virtual 5k for people who are not in the area to participate and contribute to the cause through social media, she said.

“We also instituted a virtual 5k this year, meaning people who were not around campus, such as alumni, could run and post a photo of themselves with the hashtag #RunWithUs and #CharlotteStrong.” Geelan said.

The race’s official motto is #CharlotteStrong in memory of Charlotte Terry, who was a patient at the Riley Hospital for Children and lost her battle with brain cancer a few years ago. This will be SMCDM’s third 5k in honor of Charlotte, Geelan said.

“Running to commemorate Charlotte is something so special that makes this event so much more personal, and her family comes every year and talks,” Geelan said. “This is really why this initiative is so important because we’re running and we’re dancing because these kids can’t. These kids are so strong and so brave to be able to go through the struggles that they do on a daily basis, and so running a 5k in honor of them is the least we can do.”

Sophomore and member of SMCDM’s public relations committee Maura Honan said she participated in the Dance Marathon last year, and her experiences of being able to connect with the kids motivated her to become more involved.

“Last year I was just a dancer, and that made me want to be a lot more involved with all the other events,” Honan said. “It helps to bring a lot of awareness to the community and all the students and really highlights the connection with Riley Hospital and how much it helps the kids [who] go there.”

This year, the organization partnered with Holy Cross College to reach its goal of raising $130,000 by the end of this academic year.

“We are thrilled to have reached our benchmark of $5,000 for this event,” Geelan said. “I think it was really nice to see not just Saint Mary’s and not just the Dance Marathon Club but the whole community kind of come together for the same cause.”

Holy Cross junior and participant Angel Vargas said the most rewarding part about the FT5K race is participating in something so simple that can make such a big difference is someone’s life.

“It’s an amazing cause to be involved in that does not take that much effort for us to do for a cause that matters,” he said. “It also allows students from different schools to come together for a cause that we all care about and can do something about. We do these types of things every day and don’t think much of it. This way we can do it for a purpose that could change someone’s life.”

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