The Haddon Fortnightly Evening Membership Department (EMD) will host the fourth annual Snowflake 5K run on Dec. 3 to draw attention to suicide and well-being among teens.
Proceeds will support The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide Inc., based in Freehold, and Jackson’s Wish, based in Haddon Heights. Both organizations were started by parents who lost a child to suicide,
“We thought it was a topic of major concern nationwide and thought this would be a really good thing to try and support, because we’ve known so many local families have these issues,” said Patricia Barnes, co-chair for the race. “We’ve always chosen some kind of a medical charity and we thought this was a really important topic.”
Barnes noted that each year, the Fortnightly carefully chooses which organizations to support.
“We’re trying to provide money not to the giant organizations, but we’re trying to help the little guys who don’t get that much money and who don’t have enough to try and research or help their organization, and give a little bit in those areas,” she explained.
The Society for Prevention of Teen Suicide is a nonprofit that seeks to prevent suicide through education and training professionals.
“We’re like the only agency in the state of New Jersey that is solely focused on youth suicide prevention (among) teenagers, so that makes us unique,” said Susan Tellone, the society’s clinical director. “Suicide is the second leading cause of death among kids 11 to 21 years old, so we really need to be focusing on awareness and warning signs and risk factors and protective factors, what to look for.
“Suicide is preventable when we have knowledge of the signs that we’re seeing and know how to ask, ‘Are you okay?’” Tellone continued. “It takes courage to ask if you’re okay, because you have to be ready to hear the answer and get them help if they need it.”
Tellone cited the state’s free children’s system, Perform Care, that parents can call for help.
As in the past, the 5K will start and finish at the borough’s Crows Wood Complex on Atlantic Avenue. Packets can be picked up at the Haddonfield Running Company on Thursday, Dec. 1 and 2 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
On the day of the race, participants can participate in the costume contest at 8:15 a.m. Each participant will receive a goodie bag, the contents of which Barnes noted is one of the things that distinguishes the Snowflake run from other races. He cited items from ShopRite, Starbucks, A&A Pretzels, Downtown Cookies, Nothing Bundt Cakes, PetSmart and the Phillies.
Race registration is $35 until Dec. 2 and $40 on the day of the race. The run will begin at 9 a.m., with pre-race stretching at 8:30 and post-race stretching following the race by Mosaic Health.
To register, visit https://runsignup.com/Race/NJ/Haddonfield/SnowflakeRun5k.
To learn more about Perform Care, visit https://www.performcarenj.org/index.aspx.