Participating in local runs/walks are great personal challenges and good for our physical and mental health.  Many charities are now turning to the running/walking communities for their support. These runs can provide inspiration to both the participant in the event and to those benefiting from the charity.

Last year  I helped to organize the First Annual Carousel Fund Run in Shollenberg Park (Ellis Creek Entrance).  This run benefits Petaluma’s home grown charity that helps local families overwhelmed with the extra expense experienced then their child has a severe  medical  condition.  This run attracted over 300 local supporters and volunteers.  It was a beautiful morning to participate in a run/walk.  There were families doing the event together; more serious runners out for a challenge; seniors enjoying a walk ; but the most memorable runner was a 6 year runner named Maura.

Maura is an energetic little girl who ran/walked the 5k route. This is a feat in itself.  What makes it even more remarkable is that Maura is one of the kids that benefits from the Carousel Fund! You see this runner has a rare medical condition, Central Hypo-Ventilation.  She was diagnosed at 11 months.  When she closes her eyes to sleep, she stop breathing. The Carousel Fund has continued to provide overnight nursing to insure her safety. So Maura and her family can sleep peacefully without worrying about her ventilator disconnecting. Through the Carousel Fund, the whole community is looking over this little angel. Watching Maura cross the finish line with a smile of a true champion is embedded in my memory for a lifetime!

When we come together as a community to help others we strengthen ourselves and our community as a whole.   We give it heart.  We let those who need us know that we are there for them and that they are not alone.  Look at the out pouring of love and concern for Danny Cox who recently paralyzed in an accident at Tahoe.  Danny will also be one of the kids who will benefit from  the Carousel Fund Run and the Dinner/Dance Auction. You can check out some of the special auction items benefiting Danny at  Athletic Soles and Pelican Art Gallery in downtown Petaluma.  These items include: Mohammad Ali’s signed boxing gloves; a cycling jersey from Garmin-Transition signed by all the members of the Team who won last year’s Tour of California; a baseball bat and ball signed by 35 Baseball Hall of Fame Players.

I coached Danny Cox when he was kid at McNear Elementary School.  He was a energetic boy who was always out in front at run club.  This accident is a serious set back in his young life.  I have no doubt that in the  future he will be out in front again and finishing strong just like Maura. Danny has the strength and support of his family and the community cheering him on.

Please join us at this year’s 2nd Annual Carousel Fund 10Km Run or 5km Run/Walk on Sunday, September 26. If you can’t make if consider the Carousel Fund Dinner/Dance Auction on October 2nd, or the Golf Tournament on Oct. 22 at Rooster Run Golf Course (contact Matt Menard at 707-364-9259 or at mattymernard@yahoo.com).

Please come out and support the run!