A one-mile fun run Saturday in Krum will emphasize raising awareness about neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that impacts one in every 3,000 children born annually worldwide.
The Hero Dash, hosted by Krum’s Blanche Dodd Intermediate School and the Children’s Tumor Foundation, will begin at 8:30 a.m. Saturday on the track at the school district’s Bobcat Stadium and is open to children ages 4 to 17 in the Krum community.
Organizers say they hope to use a portion of proceeds to support the Children’s Tumor Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that funds research for neurofibromatosis and focuses on “effective treatment” for the disorder, and the Krum Run Club, which is made up of Krum students in grades fourth through sixth.
Krum Run Club coaches Angela Auzston, a Krum resident and community and youth event manager for the Children’s Tumor Foundation, and Tracy Polley, physical education teacher at Dodd Intermediate School, and others organized Saturday’s Hero Dash in just three weeks.
The event will not only bring awareness to neurofibromatosis, also known as NF, but was planned as a season-ending event for the Krum Run Club, replacing a Dallas race the group was slated to compete in this weekend, Auzston said. The Hero Dash is part of the NF Endurance Kids Program, which encourages children to participate in races to raise money and bring awareness to finding a cure for neurofibromatosis.
“It’s keeping kids involved, keeping kids fit across the nation and it brings awareness for NF,” Auzston said.
Organizers are hoping for a participation of 75 children.
“For Saturday we want to get awareness out and let people know about the tumor foundation, and [we] wanted to just provide a local activity that the kids in the Krum community could attend,” Polley said.
Krum Superintendent Cody Carroll said anything that gets children outside is good because it promotes an “active lifestyle” and this effort is also “a worthy cause.”
“I think it’s a great event to raise awareness about neurofibromatosis,” he said, adding that the cause is very dear to some teachers and community members. “We’re just glad that we can help to raise awareness about the disease itself and the Children’s Tumor Foundation.”
According to the Children’s Tumor Foundation website, neurofibromatosis is a genetic disorder that causes tumors “to grow anywhere on or in the body.” Half of neurofibromatosis cases are passed on to an individual genetically by a parent and the other half are brought on by “a new or spontaneous” genetic mutations in a sperm or egg cell at conception.
The Children’s Tumor Foundation website reports that 2 million people worldwide are affected by neurofibromatosis, which makes the disorder “more prevalent than cystic fibrosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and Huntington's Disease combined.”
There are three classified types of neurofibromatosis, and classifications of the disorder could cause hearing or sight impairments, skin changes, bone deformation and learning disabilities among other things.
Auzston is the mother of an 8-year-old living with neurofibromatosis.
“My daughter has been through a lot,” she said.
At age 3, Auzston said, her daughter lost an eye, and she is awaiting her eighth surgery. She’s sustained permanent damage to the bone structure in her head and she goes for MRIs every three months, Auzston said.
Bringing awareness to individuals and raising funds for a cure, “it’s huge,” Auzston said.
“I am full-throttle about awareness,” she said. “The more people that know about it, the more people that will help out the cause.”
The Hero Dash isn’t the first event hosted in Krum to raise awareness about neurofibromatosis. In November, Dodd Intermediate School hosted its Turkey Trot, an event in which participants walked 30 minutes around the high school track, and raised about $1,500 for the Children’s Tumor Foundation, Auzston said.
Several Krum teachers have also raised donations for the foundation and are slated to participate in the Dallas Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon this weekend in support of Children’s Tumor Foundation NF Endurance Program, Auzston said.
The entry fee for Saturday’s Hero Dash is $15 and includes a T-shirt and medal.
Participants can register the day of the event beginning at 7:30 a.m.
For more information or to make a donation, e-mail Auzston at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.