2014 Stroll for Strong Kids has “Outta Sight” Success!
Genesee Valley Park was a sea of vibrant colors when UR Medicine’s Golisano Children’s Hospital’s Miracle Weekend kicked off with the 18th annual Stroll for Strong Kids Walk and 5K Run May 31. The Peace, Love and Healing-themed event set a number of records, attracting more than 7,000 participants and raising $445,000 in support of the brave kids, and families, who have stepped through the children’s hospital doors.
After working up an appetite from the 5K and walk, participants munched on kettle corn from KP's Kettle Corn and Concessions, and had lunch from long-time Stroll supporters Subway and Zweigle's. Abbott's Frozen Custard, presenting sponsor of the event for the last three years, provided a tasty treat for dessert. Family-friendly activities, including carnival games, over a dozen bounce houses, a photo booth, a dunk tank, and much more went on until the event wrapped up at 1 p.m.
It was a beautiful day filled with wonderful people, including hundreds of teams, as well as individuals, decked out in colorful t-shirts, many honoring a special person or division of the hospital.
“The Stroll is all about the stories,” said Stephanie Sheets, assistant director of community affairs at UR Medicine's Golisano Children's Hospital. “The passion and dedication people put into the event, whether they are participating individually or creating a team, and the overall recruitment of participants and fundraising, truly demonstrates how much the children's hospital and its staff mean to so many.”
The top three fundraising teams for this year’s event were Lauren’s Legacy, Amanda’s Purple Minions, and Amazing Grace Esposito.
Andy and Eleanor Olander created Lauren’s Legacy in memory of their daughter Lauren who, at the age of 5, passed away during a battle with biphenotypic acute leukemia in June 2011. Lauren’s Legacy has been the top fundraiser of the Stroll for several years and exceeded their $30,000 goal this year by $1,000. With a commitment to raise $250,000 over five years and name the future children’s hospital’s west-side healing garden in Lauren’s memory, the Olanders and their generous team are well on the way to meeting the goal. “Lauren loved the outdoors and we couldn’t think of a better way to honor her memory than this healing garden,” Eleanor said.
Amanda’s Purple Minions took part in their second Stroll this year with 200 walkers. In October 2012, Amanda Conrow was diagnosed with an ependymoma brain tumor and, at 5 years old, continues to go through treatments nearly two years later. Her parents Liz and Paul created Amanda’s Purple Minions not only to honor their daughter, but the faculty and staff at the hospital as well. “Every nurse, doctor, therapist, technician, volunteer…everyone we have met has touched our lives,” Liz said. “We are incredibly blessed by this facility and the people who are in it.” Amanda’s Purple Minions raised more than $20,000 this year, doubling their fundraising goal.
David Korones, M.D., pediatric oncologist at Golisano Children’s Hospital, was able to take part in the Stroll fun and support all of the wonderful teams. He even received a special shout out from a sign Amanda painted that read “I love Dr. Korones and the new hospital!” “It is the spirit, the spirit of these kids and this community, that makes it so important for me to be there,” Korones said.
An avid children’s hospital advocate, 13WHAM anchor Jennifer Johnson helped kick off the start of the Stroll for Strong Kids 5K and the Walk. She, her husband Vincent Esposito, their family, and the 13WHAM news team, have committed to raise $350,000 for the new hospital, including naming the east-side healing garden and, with the support of the Genesee Division Kiwanis, a room in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in remembrance of Amazing Grace Esposito. The Amazing Grace Stroll team raised more than $14,109, and counting, to contribute to their goal. Grace, a 2012 Miracle Kid who was born with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia, passed away in February 2013 after a surgery to repair a new hole that formed in her diaphragm. She was 16 months old.
“It says a lot that whether a child is being treated at the children’s hospital, or has come through his or her treatment and is doing extremely well, or maybe hasn’t survived, families still look forward, year after year, to participating in the Stroll for Strong Kids and having that unwavering support means the world to us,” Sheets said.
Golisano Children’s Hospital would like to sincerely thank all of the Stroll supporters and volunteers who made this year’s event an “outta sight” success, especially Abbott’s Frozen Custard.
Abbott's Frozen Custard
Chase, Chesire A/V, DeBergerac Productions, Elmwood Pediatrics, Morgan Stanley, Subway, The Bonadio Group, Tops Markets, Conifer, Marshall Farms Group
Flaherty Salmin CPAs, Genesis Pediatrics, Hairzoo, LeChase Construction, Marcia & Mark Siewert, Tim Horton's, Zweigle's
AP Enterprises, AP Professionals, Cooley, DSS Printing Division, Madonna OB/GYN, More Than A Game Foundation, Postler & Jaeckle Corp., Roberts Wesleyan College, Strong Memorial Hospital Food & Nutritional Services, The DiMarco Group, gotSPF.com, M/E Engineering
100.5 The Drive, Byrne Dairy, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, DAA Care, Medved Running & Walking Outfitters, Monroe Ambulance, Monroe County Sheriff, Monroe County Water Authority, Nuttal Golf Cars, NYS Apple Association, Palmer Food Services, Springwaters, Inc., Walmart, Monroe County Police Chiefs Association, Glamour & Gamin Ride