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Chocolates, marshmallows and miles

Ladue hosts new 5k to help fund hospital wellness center

Gigi Goebel, Features writer

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Although an early morning 5k may not appeal to most, the allure of gourmet s’mores might make a difference. This was the thought process behind the creation of Run and Run S’more, a new fundraiser at Ladue High School, which took place Feb. 28.

More than 700 people participated in the event by either running a 5k or walking a mile in order to raise money for the St. Louis Children’s Hospital and the Jackson Hill Foundation. Ladue girls cross country and track coach Melissa Hill created the foundation in 2010 in honor of her son, Jackson, who passed away from a type of bone cancer called osteosarcoma at age 12 in 2005.

“Our family wanted to come together and do something to honor his memory,” Hill said. “He loved all kinds of sports, and our other two children wanted to remember him as a healthy child.”

Hill said her family wanted to give back to hospitals. They wanted their contribution to have an impact on families going through the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

“We came up with the idea of the Jackson Hill Wellness Centers,” Hill said. “We opened our first one in 2012 in Portland, Oregon.”

The centers are open 24 hours a day and offer comfort to families who are staying in the hospital. When the Hills moved to St. Louis, they began working on opening a second Jackson Hill Wellness Center. Money raised from Run and Run S’more contributes to the opening costs for this center.

“It promotes health while at the same time helping St. Louis Children’s hospital, which is an amazing organization,” Sherberg said.

“You’ve got a run where you are working very hard, and at the end you are rewarded with something awesomely sweet.””

— Melissa Hill

Ladue boys cross country coach Mark Spewak and Hill decided to host the event at Ladue. The idea to include eating s’mores as part of the run came from Suzanne Fontaine, the Events and Marketing Director at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

“You’ve got a run where you are working very hard, and at the end you are rewarded with something awesomely sweet,” Hill said.

Hill has also organized other events to raise money for organizations when she lived in Oregon. This year, she wanted to connect her coaching and charity work.

“I coach at Ladue, and I love the community there,” Hill said. “I thought, ‘Why not just involve the school?’”

Hill organized a group of students into a high school committee to tour the hospital. The experience helped students recognize the impact they could have on the community.

Junior Cloe Frank, a committee member for Run and Run S’more, promoted the fundraiser. Frank was delighted to help organize the event, and she thought she would be a good fit for the position.

“The fact that my coach asked me personally to do this really touched me,” Frank said.

Frank put flyers up in many athletic stores such as True Runner and Lululemon. In addition, she approached different companies and radio stations and asked them to promote the cause.

“We got the Run and Run S’more name on various organizations’ calendars so they know about it and can tell more people,” Frank said.

All of the funds went to the Jackson Hill Foundation and the St. Louis Children’s hospital. Committee member and freshman Lila Bensky enjoyed promoting the event.

“Running is something I really love to do,” Bensky said. “[The event] had a lot of my favorite things combined into one.”

Bensky said it was important to her that the Run and Run S’more event benefitted her coach’s cause. Senior Adam Sherberg also said he decided to join the committee to help his coach and others.

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Chocolates, marshmallows and miles