On Sunday, June 3rd, the community came together to raise over $130,000 for grieving kids and families throughout New Jersey. 14-year-old Good Grief Participant, Bella, addressed over 1,200 members of the community at Good Grief’s 5K Run and Walk for Hope, “Everyone who showed up today has already proven that they are awesome! You have shown me, and all the kids like me, that you care and that we are not alone. If you’re here because you’re like me and you have someone special in your life who died, look around and remember this moment. Our Community supports us!” Bella’s father, Jimmy, died when she was only 7-years-old. Bella continued, “My dad’s death was the worst time of my life. Kids in school didn’t understand how it felt to lose a parent and I felt very alone. Going to Good Grief helped show me that there are many other kids out there just like me.”
Statistics show that 1 out of 7 children will experience the death of a parent or sibling before the age of 20, which would equate to 280,000 children in New Jersey alone. Good Grief’s mission is to provide unlimited and free support to children, teens, young adults, and families after the death of a mother, father, sister, or brother through peer support programs, education, and advocacy. The 5K Run and Walk for Hope is one of three of the organization’s major events to ensure free and unlimited programming for its participants.
The 5K Run and Walk for Hope brings together runners, walkers, and teams of local businesses, civic groups, schools, and families for a 5K Run and 2 Mile Walk through the beautiful Giralda Farms complex in Madison, NJ. 74 Teams spent months fundraising, creating t-shirts, and decorating banners to honor loved ones who have died. Good Grief Mom participant, Tiffany, even made custom pins from family photos for her team, “Walking with Angels.” Tiffany’s husband, Brian, died suddenly in 2012, leaving his wife, 10-year-old daughter, and 6-year-old son. “Since Brian’s death, my greatest passion has been to bring awareness to others about loss and to express gratitude for what I have in my life. Good Grief has become a big part of my life. I love to help spread the word. They create such a compassionate and welcoming space for grieving families, while educating the community about the needs of grieving kids.” The event gives the community an opportunity to support friends and families who have lost loved ones, while empowering grieving families to honor loved ones who have died and to support the organization that helped them through their loss.
As the 1,200 participants lined up for their 5K run or 2-Mile walk, Bella delivered her closing remarks with a smile on her face. “One of the most important things about community and coming together like today is that it reminds us that we can help each other. Yes, we are strong and resilient on our own, but we are way stronger together. Thank you on behalf of all of my friends at Good Grief. I hope you make a new friend today and I hope you feel the presence and love of your special person. NOW LET’S WALK AND RUN FOR HOPE!!”
Good Grief is respected as a national leader in delivering grief services to children and their families. It is the leading provider of these services in New Jersey serving over 1,000 children since its founding in 2004. Good Grief is a registered 501(c) (3) tax-exempt non-profit organization whose mission is to provide unlimited free support to children, teens and families after the death of a parent or sibling. Servicing more than 150 communities, we operate programs in Morristown and Princeton. For more information about Good Grief, please visit our web site www.good-grief.org.