Children begin last year's Kids Run for the George Fund race. The fund helps families with children with terminal illnesses.

by Paula. M. Riley

Of all the races that occur in the Springtime, none hosts runners that are more charming or adorable than the children who participate in the Kids Run for The George Fund. The annual race is on Friday, June 1 at Springfield High School Stadium, 1801 Papermill Rd.. Children as young as one year old will race towards the finish line. They will run into the arms of their parents and, with each step, they will be bringing comfort to children facing terminal illnesses.

The George Fund, named in honor of George Pappert, who died just before his 5th birthday, assists children facing terminal illness. Throughout George’s life journey, he and his family received wonderful support from the nurses, social workers, art, music and movement therapists at Keystone Hospice in Wyndmoor. They offered comfort, exercise, laughter and support during and after George’s final months.

The 3rd Annual Kids Run is much more than a running race; it’s a carnival celebration of life and of community. Children ages one through 14 are invited to participate in the fun races and wonderful activities including carnival foods, arts and crafts, face painting, a moon bounce and more.

Established by George’s parents, Ellen and Jerry, The George Fund has raised more than $560,000 and has provided medical equipment, nursing services and creative art therapies for children facing terminal illnesses.

The Papperts want other families to have the same chance they had – in-home hospice where a sick child and their siblings and parents can receive the therapies and support they need.

“Hospice care allows you to be a family again,” Jerry Pappert said. “Your family is intact. You’re in your home yet you’re very secure knowingyour child is being cared for. The nurses visit, the creative arts therapists visit and, when the need for medical care increases, you have doctors and nurses working with you. You have the comfort of knowing your child is being taken care of and kept comfortable.”

The funds raised at the Kids Run will help those families whose insurance plans do not adequately cover pediatric hospice care. Each year more families participate in the Kids Run. The Papperts invite new families to come this year as well.

“Raising awareness about pediatric hospice is as important to us as raising funds,” said Ellen Pappert.

The race registration begins at 5 p.m. and races start at 6 p.m. Children ages 1-3 will run 50 yards; 4- to 5-year-olds will run 100 yards; 6-to 7-year-olds will run 200 yards and those 8 through 14 will run one mile. The first 200 participants will receive a commemorative Kids’ Run for The George Fund orange T-shirt, and medal. There will be lots of great raffle prizes and a silent auction.

To register go to www.keystonecare.com and click on Kids Run for the George Fund under “Upcoming Events.”