Friday, January 10, 2014

26 Days of Kawasaki Disease Awareness: Day 10

To celebrate the 4th annual National Kawasaki Disease Awareness Day on January 26, 2014, I will be posting 26 ideas on how you can spread KD awareness in your own community and beyond - one idea per day until the 26th.  

Here are the past days:

Now let's get to today's idea:

Day 10: Organize a 5K run for Kawasaki Disease.

This is one of the more time-consuming and complicated ideas featured, but it can also be one of the most rewarding.  You have to have healthy amounts of dedication, motivation, socialization, and organization to pull off a 5K run, but if you have what it takes, you can yield amazing results, as you will see below.  

A 5K run or walk will have so many rewards in addition to spreading some major Kawasaki Disease awareness.  For one, you can also raise money for your favorite KD charity.  You will also be making a difference in your own community.  A run/walk will get a large group of people from your community up and moving, bringing people together in a positive way.  Not only are you promoting Kawasaki Disease awareness, you are promoting healthy heart awareness - and those two go hand-in-hand.  

Many people would love to do this idea, they just have no idea where to start.  There are some really detailed websites that take you step-by-step through the process from start to finish.  Here are just a few examples:

  1. This short article by outlines some of the main steps to organizing a 5K.
  2. This article by explains in great detail "How to Organize Your First Race."
  3. Another very comprehensive article from with great tips.

There have been a few very successful 5K runs in the Kawasaki Disease community already.  I'd like to mention two of these great examples to learn from, find inspiration in, and reach out to for information and advice in your own endeavors.  

Cooper 5k and Fun Run

In September of 2013, over 300 people participated in the first annual Cooper 5K and Fun Run in honor of Cooper Logan.  Just one year before that, Cooper suffered 2 coronary artery aneurysms due to Kawasaki Disease.  The Logan family has now made it a mission to raise funds and awareness and help stop this disease from hurting other children like it hurt Cooper.  They created the Kawasaki Kids Foundation and have two different Cooper 5Ks planned for 2014.  You can already register on their website.  I asked Mr. Logan to tell me a little bit about his experience and this is what he had to say:

"Kawasaki Kids Foundation put together the Cooper 5k last year to benefit our foundation. We had goals of 150 participants and to raise $10k. Due to the amazing response that we received in the press, community and among families, we exceeded that goal. We raised over $18k and had 320 participants. We now have a Cooper 5K in Utah and Colorado in 2014.The amount of great education that came from the Cooper 5K led to thousands of new people knowing about KD! We are dedicated to help anyone who would like to put on a 5k in the future. Please contact us at for assistance on your event. Thanks -- the Logan's."

 You can see more about Cooper's story in this feature news video by TheDenverChannel.

Don't Stop the Beat 5k

On July 20, 2013, people from all over the US met in Bryon, Ohio for the Don't Stop the Beat 5k run in honor of Owen Grant.  Owen suffered from KD in 2012 and his mother organized this race to raise awareness and money for the Kawasaki Disease Foundation.  Ms. Grant went on to raise over $17,000, brought together people from 9 different states, and made the front page of her local newspaper.  I think that's what we call a KD awareness trifecta.  Here's what Ms. Grant had to say about the event:

"I think it is an excellent way to raise awareness and funds. As you know, we were able to raise around $17,000 from a very small farm town & had several hundred runners come to support (and most importantly learn about KD). Everyone received a KD T-shirt as well and I know that is still having an impact. We ordered over 300 KD awareness T-shirts and I hear stories all the time that someone had their shirt on and a stranger asked them what KD was. It opens up the door for others to help spread the word about KD even if they weren’t directly affected."

American Heart Association Heart Walk

If you don't think you are up to organizing an entire race, but this idea has piqued your interest, you can see if there is an American Heart Association Heart Walk in your area.  The AHA puts on dozens of Heart Walks all across the United States every year to raise money and awareness for their organization.  

Are you considering organizing your own 5K run? Do you have another idea to raise awareness for Kawasaki Disease? Comment! Please! And come back tomorrow for day 11 of 26 days of Kawasaki Disease awareness.  

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