A HUGE thank you to our AWESOME community for joining us yesterday at ECBC’s inaugural charity run and book drive — BOOK IT! Racing for Reading for Hospitalized Kids! Nearly 500 racers (and nearly 600 people total including volunteers, sponsors, vendors, and supporters) came out to walk, run, fundraise, book-raise, and make our event an amazing success! The amount of funds raised is not calculated yet, but we can say with certainty that we have a net profit that exceeds our expectations for this first year. The book drive component of the event was also super successful, with the online pre-event book drive resulting in over 75 hardcover book donations and over 45 Read+Think+Thrive book box donations, and the onsite book drive yielding hundreds more new books. What a great 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 with Scholastic, met authors and bought signed copies of books, warmed up and ran with CHOCO the bear, enjoyed the all-you-can-eat pancake and sausage breakfast, participated in the book character costume contest, and raced their hearts out. It was so fun to see so many doing all this in their bright yellow “BOOK IT!” shirts sporting “Run Read Thrive” medals!
Thank you to Orange Coast College for providing us with a fantastic location for our event. Thank you to Barry Ackerman, Event Coordinator, who worked tirelessly on all aspects of the event and without whom BOOK IT! would not have been possible. My deepest thank you to our Title Sponsor, children’s author Alane Adams’ Rise Up Foundation, and to all of our sponsors and partners: Children’s Hospital of Orange County, MaxLove Project, Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation, American Academy of Pediatrics Orange County Chapter, Orange County Department of Education, Orange County Public Library Foundation, T-shirt sponsor Paris Family Trust, Kids READ!, Pakua Martial Arts, Orange County Children’s Book Festival, Scholastic Books, Erin Denes/Berkshire Hathaway Realtor, Adriene Madden/Magic Tree House, Saddleback Educational Books, and PJ Library. We couldn’t have pulled this off without all of our terrific event partners!
Also thank you to MC Rudy Novotny for providing such an energetic and positive vibe; Master David Clawson for leading a super fun warm-up; Emily Frye for all your help with design and artwork; Sprouts for providing water and bananas; CR&R for providing trash containers; Kiwanis Club of Irvine for the all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast; Francie Rosen and Balloons Sound Great for the Entrance Arch; and Brighton Denes for stepping up to sing the National Anthem with no advance warning or time to practice — you are so brave Brighton! Thank you to children’s authors Alane Adams, Sheri Fink, Derek Taylor Kent, Dan Paley, Jennifer Grey Olson, and Suzi Schaffer for joining us with signed copies of your books for the on-site book drive, and thank you to Susie Alexander of Once Upon a Storybook for inviting authors and always supporting our cause and events. And special thanks to Caren Ware and Itz About Time for their expertise in race planning and timing equipment.
Also, this event would not have happened without the great volunteers who came out to help. Thank you to Girl Scout Troop #3115, members of the Irvine Valley College Circle-K, UC Irvine UNICEF Team, Tustin NCL, and Tustin Boys Community Service League. And thank you to friends Kate Dearstyne, Kathleen Marshack, Julie Schulman, and Erin Denes who showed up super early and stayed late to clean up — your unsolicited help is so appreciated.
And finally, my deepest thank you to the many individuals and families who came out to help make the event such a success! Thank you for promoting on social media, recruiting more participants, and creating teams — a huge shout out to our largest teams: Team Arroyo Elementary School, Equalizers Track Club, Team Shir Ha Mallot, Match Point Tennis Academy, and Team Hewes Middle School. And thank you for sharing your pictures and stories after the event , which plays a powerful role in helping to expand our community of support. I’m so very grateful.
Several have asked if there is the option to do a virtual run if you missed the event. We aren’t offering that this year, but we plan to for next year’s event. You may still support this year’s BOOK IT! via the race registration site by donating a hardcover book or by sponsoring a Read+Think+Thrive Box for new cancer diagnoses at CHOC. Access the donation button at https://runsignup.com/Race/Donate/CA/CostaMesa/RunReadThrive.
THANK YOU FOR “BOOKING IT” FOR READING FOR KIDS AT CHOC CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL. 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. And I hope that this inaugural charity run marks the beginning of an annual event that grows into a significant source of support for a sustainable library and reading program at CHOC. Thank you, AWESOME COMMUNITY, for being here with us from the beginning. See you back next year for BOOK IT! 2019!
A HUGE thank you to these kiddos for participating in Arroyo’s Ripple Kids Fair this week and for supporting Ethan & Choco’s Book Club. These three booths (with handmade clay charms, handmade succulent displays, and a fun spin the wheel for prize game) were all awesome. It’s so amazing to see kids taking action! Thank you!
A HUGE thank you to Girl Scout Troop #3115 for their hard work this past Sunday at the Girl Scouts Day of Service event at Foothill High School! The girls hosted a table to spread awareness about Ethan & Choco’s Book Club and ways that other troops can get involved, such as by fundraising for Read+Think+Thrive Boxes and participating in our charity run. They also designed awesome bookmarks with 10 phrases about reading (aligned with quotes on our silicon Book Bands that patients will receive), and younger girl scouts colored in about 250 — which will be laminated and included in our book boxes to kids newly diagnosed with cancer. They also started a “Team Girl Scouts” on the BOOK IT! registration page —
so other girl scouts can sign up and join their team! The goal of this service day was to mobilize girls to be “agents of change”, and this troop is certainly leading the way through their help with ECBC.
We are SO grateful for their ongoing commitment and partnership for the last couple of years! THANK YOU TROOP #3115!!
Ethan delivered another Read+Think+Thrive (RTT) Box yesterday at CHOC Children’s Hospital, this time to a 6 1/2 year old boy named Alexander who was just diagnosed with Leukemia this week. The box contained some of our favorite books for first grade boys, including picture books, a beginning reading book, transitional chapter books, a family chapter book read aloud, and a nonfiction book. It also contained a RTT Toolbox with art supplies and Ethan’s RTT Challenge to respond through art to one of the books in the box. And, Ethan enclosed a personal note advising the new Leukemia warrior to “Keep reading” through treatment.
As was the case last month when we delivered a reading box to Carter after he relapsed, Ethan was so proud to be able to deliver Alexander’s book box. Selecting the books, writing the note, carrying the heavy box while he himself is tired due to the effects of steroids this week. He’s glowing as he does it all, knowing so well how much books have helped him get through his own battle.
After this delivery, we decided that we’re going to reach out to CHOC to figure out how to get RTT Boxes in the hands of every newly diagnosed oncology patient at CHOC. This will be another way to get books in the hands of hospitalized kids as we await volunteer approval for our bedside reading program. And it will be putting books in kids hands at a time when they need it most — when they feel the worst, are missing school, and likely have no books with them.
Please stay posted as we work with CHOC to systematically get our Read+Think+Thrive Boxes to every kid who is diagnosed with cancer. And for ways that you can help us do that!
Thank you Girl Scout Troop #3115 for providing our first supply of reading boxes!!
Ethan was SO happy to drop off a Read+Think+Thrive (RTT) Box for his fellow Leukemia Warrior buddy Carter at CHOC today! After 648 days of treatment, Carter found out two weeks ago that his Leukemia relapsed — so he is now back inpatient and starting this battle all over again at Day 1. Ethan received chemo at the Outpatient Infusion Center this afternoon, and then we walked the box over to the hospital lobby to be delivered to Carter’s room (we could not personally deliver it, since Ethan is immuno-compromised and Carter is in isolation). Ethan was super proud of this box, because he got to personally curate the variety of great titles that went in it — including picture books, beginning chapter books, and a family chapter book read aloud.
Books and reading gave Ethan more opportunities to think hard, connect with others, and travel to other worlds while he was in the hospital. What a joy it is to be able to share this with other kids!!
We’re behind you Carter! READ, THINK, AND THRIVE!!!
We just received a super awesome book donation!! Twins Amie and Aidan (from Irvine, CA) recently celebrated their 8th birthdays, and they asked for books to be donated to the hospital library that ECBC is building in lieu of gifts for themselves! We met this amazing family on Sunday when they gave us this large, super heavy box of books — 138 new, high-quality paperback and hardcover titles, mostly selected from our Amazon.com Wish List! This is definitely our most significant personal (non-institutional) donation yet! The family even used our logo to make their own ECBC book plates, personalized with the birthday kids’ names and signed by each party guest. Thank you so much Amie and Aidan for thinking of ECBC and for your generosity. We are so very honored!