On Jan. 6, 2013, Moorestown native Sean Fischel lost his battle to a rare and aggressive autoimmune disorder called Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis. To keep Sean’s light shining in the hearts of others, the Fourth Annual Sean Fischel Connect 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run will be held on Sunday, Oct. 9 at noon at the Moorestown High School located at 250 Bridgeboro Road.
The organization sponsoring the event, Sean Fischel Connect Inc., a 501©(3) tax exempt corporation, was established by Sean’s mother, Kimberly Fischel, to honor the memory of Sean and to support children’s health and well-being, encourage them to connect and appreciate the impact they have on others. It also seeks to raise awareness and funding for the research and treatment of childhood diseases.
The event was originally the idea of Fischel’s neighbor and best friend across the street, Robin Rothman. In her efforts to try to help Fischel through the early stages of her grief and to take her mind off the pain of the situation, Rothman came up with the idea to host the 5k and 1 mile run.
“Losing a child is something you would never, ever want to experience. It was so hard to get through life, and I initially kept to myself and didn’t want to bring anyone down with that type of pain,” Fischel said. “What I learned is that I can’t survive this life that I’ve been given without the support of my community and by connecting with those around me. Life cannot be done in isolation.”
Soon after the idea was established, the two women put together a team to help organize the event. Although it took a little more than a year to receive their charity status approval, the first year of the event hosted 1,200 participants.
“The community response has been absolutely overwhelming, beautiful and more than I could have ever expected. There has been so much love from people who I don’t know and didn’t know Sean,” Fischel said. “It’s so cathartic.”
Although Fischel admits that living every day without Sean is a struggle, she can find peace in knowing she is able to give back to numerous organizations in Sean’s name. For example, the funds of Sean Fischel Connect have gone toward research and treatment of childhood HLH, the Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Team, Connolly Center for Families and to the groundbreaking research of Dr. Edward Behrens at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Additionally, the organization established Sean’s Book Nook, is the official sponsor of the “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” program, sponsor of the quarterly children’s programs and the Summer Science series by the Franklin Institute at the Moorestown Public Library. It has also made notable contributions to the Moorestown Department of Parks and Recreation and to the Moorestown high School cross country teams.
More than 1,000 participants are expected at this event, so people are advised to register in advance. Also of importance, pets of any sort are not allowed on school property, and although strollers are welcome, attendees should be advised that the terrain is mixed.
“For those who haven’t experienced this event, they should come experience it now because it’s a glorious day of connecting family happiness,” Fischel said. “In addition, for those who have experienced it and who have continued to support us for the past four years, thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me hope and allowing me to give back in Sean’s name. It wouldn’t be possible without the hope, love and support of this community.”
Those interested in registering should sign up online at: https://www.runtheday.com/registration/select_race_type/37508. Additionally, for those interested in contributing but who are unable to attend the event, donations are also being accepted at https://www.runtheday.com/donate/donation_entry/37508.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.