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Dozens of doughnut-loving runners are expected to participate in Donut Dash III, which benefits the Child Life Program at Sutter Children’s Center, Sacramento. The fun run will bring participants of all ages out to Land Park on Saturday, March 19, to take part in the four-mile, four-doughnut challenge.
This unusual race is organized by Zack Wandell, a volunteer at the Sutter Children’s Center who was motivated from a similar race he saw on TV.
“I was watching ESPN one night and saw the Krispy Kreme Challenge in North Carolina,” Wandell said. “It raised money for their local hospital, so when I saw it I thought we could do that here for our hospital.”
Amy Medovoy, coordinator of the Child Life Program, said the money raised makes a big difference in the lives of pediatric patients in the hospital.
“The support that the Child Life Program receives from the Donut Dash helps us to support children and their families through their medical experiences,” Medovoy said. “We do this by providing normal childhood activities, promoting development, teaching children about their illnesses and treatments, and supporting them emotionally.”
Sutter Children’s Center is a comprehensive children’s hospital inside Sutter Memorial Hospital in east Sacramento. It serves 7,000 children a year from 26 California counties and beyond, including Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, El Dorado, Solano, San Joaquin and Amador counties. Among its specialized pediatric services are an 80-bed, Level III neonatal intensive care unit, heart surgery, oncology, neurosurgery, orthopedics and clinics for epilepsy, childhood diabetes, cleft palates, obesity and many other diseases that affect children from birth to 18 years old.
The third annual Donut Dash will have participants run two miles, eat four doughnuts at Marie's Donuts, and then run two miles back to the finish line. Wandell says those who are less ambitious can eat six doughnut holes instead of the four doughnuts, but either way, it’s fun for the whole family.
“We get all kinds of people out there,” Wandell said. “We get runners, walkers, joggers and baby strollers. It’s fun. We’ve never had anyone get sick or throw up.”
Wandell said 25 runners participated at the first Donut Dash in 2009 and raised more than $1,500 for the program. Last year, the race saw 80 people run with almost $3,000 donated. This year, Wandell hopes the word will get out and participation will triple.
“My goal this year is to have 250 people raise $5,000,” Wandell said. “And some day I would like to get 5,000 runners and be able to donate $25,000 to the program.”
Many of the families and children who have been part of the Child Life Program attend the Donut Dash and cheer on the participants or take part in the race themselves. They know the value of the program first-hand and appreciate every dollar raised.
“With the Donut Dash's support, we can purchase toys, activities, books, movies, educational tools, toys for distraction, resources and so much more,” Medovoy said. “This is a fun event that really makes a difference in children's lives.”
For more information on Donut Dash III, and to register or make a donation, visit www.DonutDash.org, call Wandell at 916-802-9225, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations can also be mailed to 7880 Alta Valley Way Suite 101, Sacramento CA 95823.
Stephanie Breitbart works in the communications department at Sutter Health Sacramento Sierra Region.