On Thursday, January 17, more than 75 passports were stamped as JetBlue took the Race for Courage team to Nassau, Bahamas, for the second annual marathon and half-marathon fundraiser for Kids of Courage. For the past five years, KOC has been providing medically fragile and chronically ill children with the chance to travel and experience seemingly unattainable life-changing opportunities. With a fully equipped medical staff, these events are conducted in a fun yet extremely safe environment. This weekend was a microcosm of what this organization does year-round.
The weekend kicked off on Thursday and included flights, meals catered by Lasko Getaways, a full day to experience the Atlantis resort, lots of sun and, of course, the actual race. There was a full Shabbos program, beautiful tefillos, and even a sefer Torah provided by the Nassau Chabad.
However, the real highlight of the weekend was watching the campers in the race (see photos on opposite page). In typical KOC fashion, wheelchairs flooded the otherwise able-bodied course, and the crowd was amazed by the mission of this unique organization. National media was all over Team Courage as roughly one out of every 50 runners (in a field of 900) was in or pushing a wheelchair throughout the race. While the children provided inspiration during the race, it was the finish line that put the cherry on top. Several of the campers stopped a few yards short of the finish and, with some help from their counselors, walked across the line without their wheelchairs.
Race for Courage Bahamas was a huge success due to the hard work and dedication of a super team of volunteers. Many thanks go to Eli Friedman, Moishie Gamss, Michal Pretter and Michael Celler.
The event brought in over $200,000 for Kids of Courage. As the organization is fully volunteer-based, the money raised will go directly towards the organization’s year-round events, which include KOC’s flagship summer adventure trip when over 130 critically ill children will travel across the United States to sunny San Diego.
Kids of Courage is now forming a charity team that will participate in the 5-Borough Bike Tour this May. To find out more, visit www.bikeforcourage.org. For more information about Kids of Courage or to make a donation, visit www.kidsoc.org. v