Courtney Cooley’s four year-old daughter Lilly can tell you a lot about Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital. Diagnosed with juvenile arthritis, severe asthma and celiac disease, she has spent considerable time there being cared for by various doctors and nurses. You might expect Courtney and her family to keep their distance from the hospital whenever possible, but they’ve done just the opposite. This marks the fourth year that Courtney and her family have organized a family-friendly 5k run to benefit the hospital that has done so much for Lilly.
What inspired your idea to organize the 5K Family Fun Run?
Any time you have a child at the hospital, it can be really scary. They [the staff] have always been so kind, and it doesn’t matter what hour of the night it is. They’re always there for questions. It’s been pretty tough. She sees five different specialists. We just wanted an event to give back to the hospital but also to give back to other children there and benefit them as well.
Are there opportunities for kids to race and help raise money?
For kids, it’s kind of a sprint. We do a race for 4 and under, and then we do ages 5 to 9. We give all the kids medals when they’re done and also free t-shirts.
Who has participated in the 5k?
We have many generous sponsors helping to support the event. Even our pediatrician [Dr. Susan Davis of Carmel Pediatrics] helps to sponsor the race. Last year, our running number was 181. We have between 60 and 80 volunteers, which helps get the word out.
Will Lilly be able to participate in the kids’ race?
It’s not a very far run, so it just depends on what’s going on at the time. Sometimes she has flare ups and those times are worse than others. At one point, she was on eight different medications. Right now she’s doing pretty good. Last year she was able to participate, which was a lot of fun. She was happy!
Run, walk or just come have fun and support the cause! The 5k Family Fun Run has raised over $15,000 in donations in the past three years, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefitting Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital.
When: Saturday, April 11, 2015
Where: Butler University (4600 Sunset Avenue, Indianapolis)
Cost: $20 for individuals or $59 for a group of 4. (Run or walk – strollers and wagons welcome)
Activities: 5k run, kids’ 50-yard dash, raffles (both for kids and adults), food, balloon artistry, music
Visit the 5K Family Fun Run on Facebook to register or donate online. For more information on volunteering or becoming a sponsor, email [email protected]>Courtney