On Saturday, June 18th, the 4th annual Run, Walk n Roll 5K will begin at 9am at Grosse Pointe South High School. The event, which will be both in-person and virtual, will benefit the Pediatric Palliative Care Program at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor.
What started as a way to help her sister has grown into a large fundraiser for Mott Children’s Hospital. Claire Sheeren’s sister, Elizabeth, was diagnosed with a number of auto-immune diseases early in life. Elizabeth has spent the past ten years in the care of Mott and has relied on their medical expertise and therapy. Claire, who was in high school at the time when Elizabeth became more acutely ill, felt hopeless and wanted to do something to give back to the hospital that has been instrumental in helping her sister. In 2019, Claire came up with a way.
While at South, Claire approached her track coach, Stephen Zaranek, about the idea, and Coach Zaranek helped Claire with the details and logistics. The first year, they had 550 participants and raised $46,000. The second year, which was only virtual because of the pandemic, raised $39,000. And in year three, as a hybrid event, they raised over $87,000.
Looking back on the past races, she is very proud of what she started. “It’s amazing how much the event has expanded,” says Claire. “It just gets better every year.” But Claire is most excited about the impact that it has on the Pediatric Palliative Care Department. This year, their goal is $100,000 and the money will hopefully take the successful pilot Massage Therapy Program and turn it into a permanent one with a full-time therapist. The other initiative is to continue funding for a Child Life Specialist to help siblings and other family members battling complex and chronic diseases. “As a sibling, I know how much support is needed and how hard it can be,” says Claire. “There is a strong need for bereavement and other support for family members.” This important initiative is also on the table for this year.
The entire Sheeren family have been actively involved in Elizabeth’s care and instrumental in the outreach to the community. Mother Julie, father Chris; brothers Jack and Thomas and sister Claire have been her biggest supporters. The family is very grateful for all of community’s support. “The love for Elizabeth is overwhelming,” says mom Julie. The committee, sponsors, volunteers and participants have made this race, and its support for these very important initiatives, a reality every year.
Claire is currently a sophomore at Wheaton College and will return to coordinate this special event along with its instrumental Executive Committee Members: Melissa Connell, Kathy Brennan, Liz Homsy, Maureen Krasner, Betsy Enders, Stacey Jeup-Bilderbeck, Jill Bommarito, and Shari Warezak.
For more information, or how to donate, www.Run-Walk-Roll.org