When the Four Seasons Hotel Boston invited to me attend its “Run of Hope” charity event, my schedule was packed beyond belief. In fact, I had just hosted a birthday party that weekend. But since philanthropy is really close to my heart, I knew it was important I make the time.
If you don’t know, the Run of Hope is an annual 5K run and 2K walk hosted by Four Seasons Hotel Boston that raises funds for pediatric cancer care and research at the MassGeneral Hospital for Children.
Over a year ago, I visited the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and was touched by what children (and adults) go through each day as they fight this debilitating disease. In my small way I wanted to do something — and last holiday season during my charity fundraiser, when a company decided to donate 100 Zhu Zhu pets, I chose the pediatric center as the recipient.
I took my then three year old to the hospital and wondered if I was mocking them by bringing toys when they were obviously in pain. It was heart wrenching to watch child after child walk in for treatments and explain to my three year old why most had no hair. When I saw the joy they had at opening a simple toy, I realized we all make a difference — and if it helps to make the treatment bearable, it is all we can hope for.
Speaking of hope, the Run Of Hope in June was a charity event like none I’d ever experienced. It is tough to make a charity event fun, simple and family-oriented. Somehow Four Seasons Boston extended the theme of being family-friendly even at an event as important as this one.
The makings of a perfect day, albeit a rainy one, began at the famous Hatch Shell in Boston with a pancake breakfast. Now I love pancakes as much as the next person, but these were Four Seasons pancakes — and if you have ever eaten at a Four Seasons hotel, you would know they do nothing ordinarily. After everyone noshed on a variety of pancakes, including my favorite blueberry one, we revved up for some exercise.
Warming up takes on a whole new meaning when it is dished out by the New England Patriots cheerleaders. With personalities like Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and “Extra” host Maria Menounos in attendance, you would have expected them to steal the show. But, no — that special spot was saved for a little girl, Alexandra, who is fighting cancer and who stood onstage and thanked everyone with a radiant smile. You cannot ignore the cause when you see the face of the person you are helping.
There was something for all fitness levels: a Kids’ 50-yard dash “Fun Run,” which my kids took part in; a 5K run relegated for the fittest amongst us; and a 2K walk, which we did as a family. Being part of philanthropic efforts together as a family is important, but often unrealistic with children in tow. Not only was the day a perfect family outing, it was also heartwarming to know we were supporting the MassGeneral Hospital for Children and the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center.
Mommy Niri blogs at mommyniri.com.
After being born in South Africa and surviving everything from poverty to riots, Nirasha (known as Niri) shelved her desire for writing in a turbulent time to pursue a career in software engineering. While dusting off the remnants of Apartheid, Niri left for the shores of the USA to be a techno-geek by day while pursuing philanthropic interests by night. Fast forward to 12 years later. With a baby in tow, Niri traded the rat race for her rug rats and turned back to her passion of writing at MommyNiri.com. Niri has been featured on Boston.com, Syracuse.com and India New England; has worked on several charitable projects while harnessing the power of blogging to end teacher-funded classrooms; taken part in Rwanda Path2Peace; built playgrounds with Kaboom and the End Child Hunger campaign.
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