On Sunday, June 2nd, Good Grief held a record-breaking 5K Run and Walk for Hope, raising $121,524 for the organization. Over 1,300 people showed up in support of grieving children and families throughout New Jersey. During opening remarks, Jeffrey Ober, a 14-year-old Good Grief participant bravely shared his experience with the crowd. The teen from Hasbrouck Heights, NJ lost his father, Jeff, 5-years-ago. Jeff was only 35-years-old. “After my dad’s death, everything in my life crashed. I felt angry, I felt sad- I had a hard time dealing with all of the emotions I was feeling. Then I started going to Good Grief. When I go to Good Grief, I’m with kids that understand exactly what I am going through. It has helped me more than I could have ever imagined. It’s the bright light in a dark and scary room.”
The 5K Run and Walk for Hope raises both funds and awareness to help children and families after the death of a mom, dad, sister, or brother. Statistics show that 1 out of 7 children will experience the death of a parent or sibling before the age of 25. Serving over 900 participants monthly throughout New Jersey, the 5K Run and Walk for Hope is one of the three major events the organization hosts annually to ensure programming remains free and unlimited for its families.
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. 61 teams spent months fundraising, creating t-shirts, and decorating banners to honor loved ones who have died.
“Team Warrior,” who had an impressive 130 members, came together in memory of Jeff Leloia. “We’re supporting my husband who passed away 4 months ago today from brain cancer,” said Alyson Leloia from Randolph, NJ. “Good Grief has been so positive for us. The 5K raises money for such a good cause, we just want to give back to Good Grief; it has helped us so much through this experience,” Alyson said through a tearful smile. The event gives the broader community an opportunity to support friends and families who have lost loved ones, while empowering grieving families to honor their loved ones who have died and to support the organization that helped them through their loss.
Moments before the start of the 5K Run and 2-mile Walk, the crowd of 1,300 quietly listened to Good Grief CEO, Joe Primo, “When we grieve, we are often met with as much isolation as sadness. Today, 1,300+ people are gathered to say we care and we are here for grieving kids and families. Today grief will come out of the shadows because it is surrounded by love. Today, we will run and walk, filled with hope… This is where each of us belong and what each of us deserve.” The starting horn blew, runners and walkers took off, and grieving kids could be seen throughout the crowd beaming at the acknowledgement of their grief, their strength, and their courage to move toward a more hopeful future.
For more information on the event, please contact Heather Goodman at Heather@good-grief.org.
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 160 communities, we operate programs in Morristown, Princeton, Jersey City, and Newark. For more information about Good Grief, please visit our web site www.good-grief.org.