Updated: Apr 25
The Monroe Indians for Civic Action group has preparations underway for their annual 5K race in remembrance of Om Parikh- a teen who remained positive despite the cancer diagnosis he received. The money which is raised by the MICA group is then used for the Om Foundation so that the Foundation can work on different projects throughout the year and gain more awareness for early cancer detection.
The event to take place in the fall at Thompson Park, will be held rain or shine. There will be opening speeches which are to be followed by the one mile walk and 5K run. Afterwards, the fastest runners in each age category will be recognized for their efforts in an award ceremony. Meanwhile, there will be live entertainment by Hidden Gems and light refreshments will also be available.
In years prior, the event attracted over 1,500 participants from the Monroe community, many of which were Om’s classmates and children who were inspired by his legacy. This year, the Foundation hopes to have even more participants and has been actively working on social media pages to help advertise the event to the public.
In 2018, the Foundation scheduled it's first-ever 5K race and arranged all of the accompanying preparations in less than 3 months!! Team Senators, the team in which Om was on during his eighth grade school year, helped with preparations. Teammates designed water bottle wraps with inspirational quotes and also helped pack all the goodie bags for the races’ participants.
In 2019, students from the middle school have continued to help in similar ways. The group of volunteers deemed “Heroes” by the Om Foundation have helped by packaging sponsorship plaques, preparing refreshments, and cheering runners on during the race.
The Foundation is gladly accepting donations via their website https://www.smilesforom.org or through their personal home address. Sponsors throughout the community are also another reason why this event is such a success year after year. The grand sponsor for the 2019 race was New Jersey’s Spine and Pain Center, while other sponsors included BCB Community Bank and Ruby Memorial, among others.
All participants will be receiving a drawstring bag filled with informational pamphlets and other surprise goodies as well as a T-shirt. Nonetheless, it is for certain that all attendees will leave with an opt-OM-istic attitude and a day full of memories.