A HUGE thank you to our AWESOME community for joining us this past Monday at Ethan & Choco’s Book Club’s (ECBC) 6th annual (3rd in-person) charity run and book drive — BOOK IT! Racing for Reading for Hospitalized Kids! Approximately 400 racers (and nearly 550 total including volunteers, exhibitors, vendors, authors, and booksellers) came to walk, run, fundraise, bookraise, and make our event an amazing success! The net amount of funds raised is still to be determined, but between our event sponsors and online + onsite donations, we exceeded our gross fundraising goal of 50K and collected another few hundred books per the onsite book drive. This will allow us to sustain our current book and reading programs at CHOC Children’s Hospital.
In addition to walking or running in our 1K and 5K events, it was fun to see so many supporting our cause in a variety of ways: dressing up as a children’s book character and participating in the Literary Character Costume Contest; visiting author and bookseller booths to purchase books, meet authors, and get autographs; contributing to our book drive by dropping purchased books into our book donation boxes, funding a book on the Handprint Wall, and purchasing raffle tickets; using the photo booth with literary props and receiving printed photos to keep; jumping in the bounce house; having faces painted and cartoon caricatures drawn; receiving fun wearable balloon art; visiting our many exhibitor and vendor booths; enjoying great breakfast and coffee treats from our food trucks; attending storytime on the stage with our authors; and winning great prizes at the culminating book drive raffle drawing. It was so fun to see so much activity and energy going towards our cause, with so many in their BOOK IT! logo shirts and sporting “Run Read Thrive” medals! Congratulations to top 5K finishers (top male finisher Nathan Kneller, top female finisher Lauren Mansy), the winning team “Caleb’s Team”, and all age division winners.
Thank you to Jeffrey Trail Middle School, Irvine Unified School District, and the city of Irvine for providing us with a fantastic location with a beautiful course! Thank you to A5 Events and Ryan Kugler for their expertise in the many layers of permitting the event as well as all aspects of set up and tear down of the exhibit area and course. Thank you to Itz About Time for their seamless professional timing services. Our deepest thank you to the Gerrit and Amy Cole Foundation for stepping up to be our Title Sponsor, and a huge thank you to all of our sponsors: Eisai Inc, Mercer, Jen Schro Catching, 5 Boroughs Book Club, Chapman University, CHOC/Hyundai Cancer Institute, Enderle Center, Paris Family Trust, Sur West Homes, Voit Real Estate, Behr Paint, Blue Buoy, Erin Denes Realtor, Miracles for Kids, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Old Towne Orange Film Festival, Orange Chamber of Commerce, PaKua OC, Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation, Selman Chevrolet, The O’Dell Group of Seven Gables, The Printery, Tiddlywinks, and Zov’s. We couldn’t have pulled this off without all of our terrific event sponsors.
Thank you also to everyone who contributed to our AMAZING expo area! To our awesome booksellers — Tiddlywinks Toys and Games, Arvida Book Co, PaperPie — who provided terrific titles to sell at the onsite book drive. And to our children’s authors — Kim Dwinell, Amber Morell, Tootie Nienow, Jennifer Gray Olson, Dan Paley, Chris Robertson, Susie Schaefer, Kristine Sheleritis, and Kathleen Troy — who sold signed copies of their books and also provided an engaging storytime on the stage. Thank you to all of our exhibitors, vendors, Kids Korner vendors, and food trucks who made the expo area fun and interesting: CHOC Children’s Hospital, Miracles for Kids, MaxLove Project, PaKua OC Martial Arts OC, OC Children’s Book Festival, Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Mom & Pop Shop Popsicles, Daisy Chains, Fully Body Pilates, AKT Tustin, OC Bouncers, Creative Parties for Kids, Annie Banannie, Creative Phototime, Crepes Bonaparte, The Lime Truck, and Carmen’s Coffee. And thank you to the following raffle prizes donors: Zov’s, Kristin Chahbazian, Cirkel Fitness, Sharon & Tod Paris, In-n-Out, Laguna Handbags, TIddlywinks, Irvine Regional Park, The Potting Shed, Rock & Brews, Coast Hardware, Centro/Storico, Patti Wilkins, Trader Joes, Hands On Wellness Center, Nektar, and Studio 17. The 32 awesome prizes you donated added excitement to the book drive and helped to make it a success. Also a shout out to these individuals for donating their time and expertise: Master David Clawson for leading the warm-up, the Foothill High School Madrigal singers for leading us beautifully in singing the National Anthem, Old Towne Film Festival Director Dan Parks for filming BOOK IT on the ground and by drone, photographer Annie White for her professional photography, and CHOC mascot costume wearer veteran MaKenna Clawson for donning the heavy CHOCO suit again this year! A HUGE thank you to the BOOK IT planning committee for their incredibly hard work in the weeks and months leading up to event day — Susie Alexander, Mary Kay Viscounty, Jeanie Viveros, Fenny Kokenge, Kristin Chahbazian, Juliet Hilde, Anne Case, Suzanne Bernardy, Sandy Tweedt, and Patti Wilkins. And, this event could not have happened without the robust group of approximately 100 volunteers who came out to help on race day. Thank you to ECBC’s Bedside Readers, the Assistance League of Tustin, Youth Action Team High School, the National League of Young Men Tustin, the Kiwanis Club of Irvine, and the UCI and Irvine Valley College Circle K Club. 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 signed up and showed up, thus contributing to our great turn-out despite the four-year gap since our last in-person BOOK IT. A special thank you to our largest teams: Foothill High School, Mercer Cares, Ethan’s Family & Friends, Cavalry Church, We Love Literacy – Team Hilde, Anaheim Run Club, OC Parent Guide, and Team Ethan Lakin Loves to Read. The large teams help our numbers so much! And a very special thank you to all of the oncology and other CHOC patients and families who joined us — your strength, perseverance, and bravery inspire us every day to create programs that help you thrive and become tomorrow’s future leaders
Thank you for BOOKing IT for reading for patients at CHOC Children’s Hospital! We 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. See you back next year for BOOK IT 2024!
** If you couldn’t make it on race day but would still like to contribute to our annual fundraiser, it’s not too late! The online book drive/fundraising campaign will be running for a month after the event, until October 4, 2023.
Our full collection of event photos, including shots of all our exhibitors and medal winners, will be uploaded soon.
TO DONATE ONLINE, CLICK HERE: https://runsignup.com/Race/Donate/CA/Irvine/RunReadThrive
TO VIEW RACE DAY RESULTS, CLICK HERE: https://runsignup.com/Race/Results/53767#resultSetId-402396;perpage:100