A HUGE thank you to our AWESOME community for joining us last Sunday at Ethan & Choco’s Book Club’s (ECBC) 2nd annual charity run and book drive —BOOK IT! Racing for Reading for Hospitalized Kids! Approximately 400 racers (and nearly 500 total including volunteers, sponsors, vendors, and supporters) came to walk, run, fundraise, book-raise, and make our event an amazing success! The amount of funds raised is still to be determined, but it is looking like we will have a net profit that exceeds our profit from BOOK IT 2018. The book drive component of the event was also super successful: the online pre-event book drive resulted in over 95 hardcover book donations and 132 Read+Think+Thrive book box donations for kids diagnosed with cancer, and the onsite book drive yielded hundreds more new books. What a great (and needed) boost to our Lending and Gifting libraries at CHOC! Beyond the funds and books raised, many made their mark on the Handprint Wall with their book recommendation for the CHOC library, jumped in the bounce house, used the photo booth, spun the big wheel and bought books from Scholastic, met authors and bought signed copies of books, donated purchased books at the ECBC booth, wrote Care Cards to go in oncology kids’ book boxes, had their faces painted and cartoon caricatures drawn, warmed up with CHOCO the CHOC bear mascot, enjoyed the all-you-can-eat pancake and sausage breakfast, participated in the book character costume contest, and raced their hearts out on the beautiful Jeffrey Open Space Trail. It was so fun to see so many doing this in their bright orange “BOOK IT!” shirts and sporting “Run Read Thrive” medals!. Congratulations to top 5K finishers (male winner Timothy Lam, female winner Kaylah Tasser) and to our 10K winners (male – Sam Juliano, female – Helena Madden), as well as to all age division winners. And congratulations to Costume Contest winners (the Peter Pan family, Elephant & Piggie, and the Harry Potter couple) and to everyone who added to our themed race by sporting literary costumes!
Thank you to Jeffrey Trail Middle School, Irvine Unified School District, and the city of Irvine for providing us with a fantastic location for our event. Thank you to Caren Ware and Itz About Time for their expertise in course management and timing equipment. My deepest thank you to our Title Sponsor, KOI CBD for stepping up in the final weeks before race day to support our cause (click here to learn more), and a huge thank you to all of our sponsors: Paris Family Trust (T-Shirt Sponsor), Behr Paint (Medals Sponsor), Enderle Center (Handprint Wall Sponsor), Rise Up Foundation (Costume Contest Sponsor), 5 Boroughs Book Club (Double Book Box Sponsor), VOIT Real Estate (Double Book Box Sponsor), Sur West Homes (Book Box Sponsor) and AA Jewel Box, Cancer clothing, Erin Denes/Berkshire Hathaway Realtor, and Adriene Madden/Magic Maple Tree for your in-kind sponsorships. Thank you as well to all of our event partners: Children’s Hospital of Orange County, KidsREAD!, MaxLove Project, PaKua Martial Arts, Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation, American Academy of Pediatrics Orange County Chapter, Orange County Children’s Book Festival, Orange County Public Library Foundation, Orange County Department of Education, Nothing Bundt Cakes, and Creative Parties for Kids. We couldn’t have pulled this off without all of our terrific sponsors and partners!
Also thank you to MC Andrea Kooiman for providing such an energetic and positive vibe; Master Clawson for leading a super fun warm-up; Emily Frye for all your help with design and artwork; Zov’s for proving the waters; Smart & Final and Sprouts for providing bananas and oranges; Kiwanis Club of Irvine for the all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast; Francie Rosen and Balloons Sound Great for the 1K Fun Run Arch; and Abigail Tweedt for stepping up to sing the National Anthem. Thank you to Scholastic Books for providing terrific titles to sell for the onsite book drive as well as your significant donation of books. Thank you to children’s authors Sheri Fink, Mara James, Derek Taylor Kent, Adriene Madden, Jennifer Gray Olson, Dan Paley, and Suzi Shaffer for joining us with signed copies of your books for the book drive, and thank you to Susie Alexander / Once Upon a Storybook for inviting authors and being a vital part of our cause and events. Thank you to Barry Ackerman, Event Coordinator, who worked tirelessly on many aspects of the event and without whom BOOK IT! would not have been possible. And thank you to the rest of the BOOK IT 2019 planning team for your hard work in the weeks and months leading up to event day — especially Susie Alexander, Sandy Tweedt, Fenny Kokenge, Mary Kay Viscounty, Deb Kennard, David and Danielle Clawson, and Julie Schulman. It was our first year to have a planning team, and as such they helped to secure sponsors, authors, volunteers, and participants — thus expanding our reach in the community. Also, this event would not have happened without the great volunteers who came out to help on race day. Thank you to the Assistance League of Tustin, ECBC’s Bedside Readers, Girl Scout Troop #3115, Nicole Photoglou, Toby and Roger Kuo, Denes family, and Tyler Yang. This event is a big undertaking for our tiny organization, and it truly does take a community to pull it off. You are all so appreciated.
And finally, thank you to the many individuals and families who came out to help make the event such a success! A special thank you to the awesome 36 participants who signed up for the 10K, which was a new event this year that we hope provides a starting place for growth in future BOOK ITs! Thank you to the many participants (many whom we don’t know) who promoted on social media, recruited more participants (the “shares” directly resulted in registrations) and called teams together. A huge shout out to our largest teams: Hewes Middle School, Equalizers, Sherwin-Williams/IREM OC, MatchPoint Tennis Academy, Foothill High School, and Arroyo Elementary School.
I sincerely hope that our community views ECBC’s cause as their cause too, benefiting the kids of Orange County who end up in the hospital. With two years of our charity run under our belt, we hope to continue to grow our annual event so that it continues to support our growing reading programs at CHOC, and hopefully someday a sustainable library there as well. THANK YOU FOR “BOOKING IT” FOR READING FOR KIDS AT CHOC CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL! See you back next year for BOOK IT! 2020!
** If you couldn’t make it on race day but would still like to contribute to our annual fundraiser — either because you want to support BOOK IT! directly or as a way to honor childhood cancer awareness month, it’s not too late! The online book drive/fundraising campaign will be running for a month after the event, until October 8, 2019.