The Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation will be hosting its 11th Annual Victorious 5K, one-mile walk and one-mile kids race Sunday, May 19 at Virtua Hospital located at 200 Bowman Drive. Check-in begins at 7:30 a.m. with the one-mile events beginning at 9 a.m. and the 5K run starting at 9:30 a.m.
The Phillie Phanatic will also be on scene for warmups before the race from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.
Virtua Hospital in Voorhees is home to one of the foundation’s “Victorious 4 Teens” Teen Lounges and the first Alicia’s Art Cart station in the country.
All proceeds from this event go toward hospitalized children battling cancer and other life-threatening illnesses through the foundation’s various “Victorious 4 Teens” programs.
Since the event’s first year in 2008, over 3,000 supporters have participated in the Victorious 5K through the multiple events that take place that morning. New to the event last year was the one-mile timed race for kids, which will be continuing this year.
“We wanted to give families and kids a chance to get involved and thought this would be a great opportunity,” Gisele DiNatale said ARVF executive director and co-founder. “The community has most definitely stepped up and shown its continuing support and recognition of the unique population of adolescents in children’s hospitals.”
Program Coordinator Bridget Murray is looking forward to the event, as it continues to be a large symbol of support from the community to the organization and those fighting life-threatening illnesses.
“This event is probably my favorite fundraising event to organize for the foundation,” said Murray. “It is a genuine, heartfelt, support gathering from this great local community, and the impact that trickles down from it is truly impactful.”
Murray also said that through events like the 5K, the ARVF is able to host many specialized events across the country.
“It may be running season right now with a lot of other race events taking place, but it is also prom season right now,” said Murray. “The foundation is in the midst of sponsoring three different Teen Proms at UCSF Benioff in Oakland, Calif., Nemours DuPont in Wilmington, Del., and NYP Morgan Stanley in New York, N.Y. These are the types of things we are able to do and get hundreds of hospitalized teens a true prom experience from the money raised.”
Matthew Merovitz, who is a student at Cherry Hill High School East, has been involved with ARVF since seventh grade, with the upcoming 5K being his sixth event as a volunteer. Merovitz says he is very appreciative of the opportunity to be able to help the nonprofit in any way possible, through the Youth Leadership Council.
“As a youth leadership member, we not only lead various events with the foundation, but being the age of those we help, we have a good understanding of what they may be going through,” said Merovitz. “We understand how tough it is being away from high school, friends, etc., in the hospital.”
Additional event information can be found at www.victoriousfoundation.org/5K.
ARVF, located in the Voorhees Town Center, was co-founded by Mario and Gisele DiNatale in 2002 after the passing of their 16 year old daughter. The foundation’s mission is to improve and enhance psychological needs of hospitalized teens across the country by providing programs and activities specifically designed to enhance their quality of life while receiving treatment. Through various fundraising efforts, grants, and events, such as the Victorious 5K, these programs are made possible.