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A race to be thankful for

Henry’s Hustle 5k leaves racers hustling to the finish line for a good cause and something to be grateful for
Racers+and+other+community+members+gather+together+in+support+of+Henry+on+Thanksgiving+Day.
E. Galicki
Racers and other community members gather together in support of Henry on Thanksgiving Day.

It’s 8 a.m. at Marlowe Middle School, the sun is rising on a crisp fall day and it shines brightly as the community comes together and gets ready to run and cheer on for the 5K race that is about to begin.

Henry’s Hustle was started by Kopf Runnnin’s Seth and Karen, who started the race to bring awareness for their friend’s son, Henry. Henry was diagnosed with Merosin Deficient Congenital Muscular Dystrophy a few months after he was born. His parents didn’t know what to expect since this diagnosis was out of the blue and the family had no family history of this disorder. All of the support that Henry’s family received from the doctors who treated him, his therapist has helped the family discover more about muscular dystrophy. All of the people in Henry’s life could not have done it without the Muscular Dystrophy Association. All the money collected from the 5K race is donated to the MDA in research for a cure.

“As a parent, it would warm my heart to see everyone supporting me and being in my child’s life even though it’s not the best circumstances,” said Heather Van Antwerp, a special needs English teacher and race bystander.

The race starts at 8 a.m., for the kids half a mile dash, and the 5k starts at 8:15 a.m. The top three runners in each age division received a medal as well as a Running Depot $50 Gift Card, a Tom’s Farm Market pumpkin pie, and a Tropical Smoothie Cafe smoothie card. All runners lined up at Marlowe Middle School and waited eagerly to hear the air horn blast off marking the start of the race. Every racer had a positive attitude that morning, as they knew they were racing for something bigger than themselves. They brought a morning full of fun as racers dressed up as turkeys with feather boas and turkey socks.

“It brings a sense of hope for a cure,” eighth grader Madalyn Van Antwerp said, “Even though it’s Thanksgiving, people still care and it gives Henry something to be grateful for.”

Racers ran and walked on the course that wrapped around Marlowe Middle School, Martin Elementary School, and Chesak Elementary School while bystanders cheered them on. A water station at the 1.6-mile mark was placed to ensure that racers were hydrated and could gather some encouraging words to keep moving. The race had attendees of all ages, from babies in strollers to grandparents running with their grandchildren: all together an inclusive community.

“Watching the race, I felt a sense of responsibility to cheer people on like how people cheer me on and support me,” eighth grader and race bystander Mason Van Antwerp said.

Racers who were crossing the fish line saw a crowd cheering them on and saw Henry and his loved ones watching on as well. As the race started to conclude, racers left with a sense of being grateful for what they have and supporting those in need in their community.

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About the Contributor
Emily Galicki, Staff Writer
Emily Galicki is a first year staff writer. In her free time she paints, reads poetry, and runs track for Huntley High School. She loves anything associated with Harry Potter and Northern Illinois University.

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