By Chidinma Onuoha
On Sunday morning, several students of this university and non-students crowded in Chapel Field awaiting the Save a Child’s Heart 5K.
The race fundraised for children with cardiac problems. Runners in athletic gear and navy blue shirts saying “pump the heart” sat in small groups along the grass, stretched and joked around before starting the big race.
According to Lydia Sonenklar, the host for the event, Save A Child’s Heart is a non-profit organization based in Israel where world-renowned doctors work for “barely” any money. They go to developing countries like Tanzania, find children who have treatable cardiac problems and bring the children and their families to Israel to take care of them for however long they need to recover.
On September 17, senior Lydia Sonenklar, organized and oversaw the event.
“I organized [a] 5k last year for the Michael J. Fox foundation so it’s kind of becoming an annual thing,” said Sonenklar. “This year I chose Save A Child’s Heart because when I was in Israel for the year — my group took us there, to see all of the amazing things that they do and I knew that a lot of the people in the Jewish community know the name and want to get involved in it. So, I like the organization because I know it will be acceptable to different types of people.”
Junior communications major Josh Goldstein co-sponsored the event and is the president of the Jewish Student Union on campus. Goldstein said it means a lot to him to raise money and support an organization whenever possible.
“This race really is a great cause,” said Goldstein. “Save A Child’s Heart is an amazing organization that helps kids in Israel so it truly is a great organization and we really want to raise as much awareness and money as possible.”
Sonenklar said the planning the event was time consuming and required collaborative work.
“It took a lot of advanced planning,” said Sonenklar. “We’ve been planning and organizing this event since June. So, it’s not something you put together in a week.”
Sonenklar said putting the event together also required getting a lot of sponsorships from other student organizations and businesses that covered all of the expenses.
Sonenklar described the event as “expensive,” saying that she needed to pay for security, insurance, and T-shirts which were “really, really expensive” as well as snacks and water. In total, all of that usually added up to around $1,200. The hard work and months of planning finally paid off. Several runners headed down Chapel Field until they disappeared in the distance with nothing more than their cheers carried off into the wind.
“I think I just want people to take away that even though it kind of feels like there’s these big issues in the world we can’t do much about, these little things, whether it is a fundraising event or a random volunteer helping people who are different from you or less privileged than you, there are little things that you can do to make a difference. And they can be fun,” said Sonenklar.
Sonenklar said the foundation accepts donations directly to Kedma or through Paypal. They also have a group fundraising page on the Save A Child’s Heart website.