Naomi Ghahari, Contributing Writer
Upbeat music played as face-painted children with balloon hats jumped in the bouncy house. Cheers, clapping and smiles surrounded the participants once the four-mile walk began.
People of all ages walked or ran in the Four Miles for Kids event Saturday at the Brook Road Children’s Hospital to raise money for the Children’s Hospital of Richmond.
Noah Hackerson, a freshman majoring in political science, and Mohamad Abdelrahman, a freshman who hopes to major in biology on the pre-med track, spent their Saturday mornings volunteering at the water station. Abdelrahman and Hackerson are both on VCU’s track and field team. Hackerson is a sprinter; Abdelrahman is a jumper.
“I like walking and running events,” Hackerson said. “I’ve been to a couple, but most of the time, I am running. I am happy I am able to volunteer this time because my legs are tired since I have practice every day.”
Both of the student-athletes volunteered at the Four Miles for Kids event because they wanted to help and become involved with the community in their spare time.
“I like giving back to the community, and I realized the more I grow up, the more I want to give back,” Abdelrahman said. “It is not just for identity purposes but helps me internally and makes me feel good.”
The goal for the Four Miles for Kids event was to raise $100,000. As of Tuesday, the event raised $104,300. Kohl’s also donated $125,000.
Patricia Garland and her family were among the many Richmond residents who participated in the walk.
“I came out today to help support and to help raise money to help build the new children’s hospital,” Garland said. “Children are our future, so we need to do whatever is possible to help.”
The new inpatient children’s hospital that will be built next to the Marshall Street outpatient Children’s Pavilion is slated to be completed by 2022 and will cost $350 million. The building will include 86 inpatient beds, an emergency room and two general operating rooms.
From cheerleaders to Dogs on Call, volunteers were a big part of the Four Miles for Kids event. Jennifer Thomas, a Dogs on Call volunteer, said her therapy dog, Rebel, volunteers at the hospital twice a month.
“I am excited to see the kids today because Rebel loves to play with kids,” Thomas said. “The kids also love it when Rebel does tricks.”
Donations for the Children’s Hospital can still be made at give.chfrichmond.org/give/212162/#!/donation/checkout.