KALAMAZOO, Mich –Nearly two-thousand runners and walkers will head for the finish line in support of children’s health on Sunday, September 29. Proceeds from the annual Bronson Children’s Hospital Run & Walk will go to provide specialized services for young patients and their families.
Bronson Children’s Hospital is the only children’s hospital in southwest Michigan, serving a nine-county region. Each year, families rely on the hospital to provide care in nearly every specialty in children’s health. Patients are never turned away because their families cannot pay.
Life enhancing services that relieve fear and anxiety, and help alleviate pain are typically not covered or are only partially covered by insurance. Child life and art and music therapy are proven to enhance outcomes for children suffering from illness or injury. “Being sick and in unfamiliar surroundings can be extremely stressful and scary for children,” says Liz Semaan, executive director of the Bronson Health Foundation. “We are able to support our young patients with programs that help calm their fears and allow them to just be kids, even though they are hospitalized.”
This year, Bronson Children’s Hospital is also planning to use funds raised during the Run & Walk to replace recliners in all of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) patient rooms. Often, family members of NICU babies spend hours a day sitting or sleeping in these chairs so they can be next to their baby’s bedside. “Some of our NICU babies are here for weeks and months undergoing care,” says Emily Senske, manager of nursing in the NICU. “The current chairs have been well used over the years and are in need of replacement. New recliners (47 total) will ensure that family members have a comfortable place where they can rock their little ones, bond with them, and simply relax during what can be an otherwise stressful time.”
Fun activities at this year’s Run & Walk will be available from 9 a.m. until noon at the Bronson Methodist Hospital parking lot on the corner of John and Lovell streets. The Run & Walk starts at 10 a.m.and will be followed by a brief awards program. In addition to the 3.1 mile course, an alternative 1 mile course is available. Participants on both routes will pass by excitement zones, where they’ll be cheered on by volunteers. Registration details can be found by visiting bronsonhealth.com/runwalk. To register by phone, call (269) 341-8100.