by Sarah Leahy
There will be a 5k run at Oak Ridge Park in Clark, New Jersey on Sunday, Oct. 14 to benefit the Paul Jackson Foundation.
The charity was founded by Paul Jackson after his insurance would not cover the cost of a rehabilitation program, after his surgery left him paralyzed. The medical bills soon became too costly, so his family and friends started fundraising for his cause. Jackson soon founded the organization, whose money is now used as a “safety net for people whose needs [have] become so dire they [have] nowhere else to turn.” Sadly, in 2009, Jackson died after a long struggle with cancer, but his charity continues to raise awareness and funds for other families, according to pauljacksonfund.org.
After hearing about the Paul Jackson Foundation, senior Julia Ceasrine decided to start a club at WHS to help fundraise for the charity.
Ceasrine said: “It is such a great cause. I also think it is really important to get our school involved in their events since the PJF is based right in Westfield…, and Paul Jackson even attended WHS.”
According to club member senior Christina Gulla, they are planning on fundraising through various events. “[We] plan on joining up with clubs such as the Key Club and [also] thought of can drives and clothing collections,” she said.
Ceasrine first thought of starting the club when she was approached by Mary Jackson, Paul’s sister, who informed her about the charity and expressed interest in spreading the word at WHS. Ceasrine said she is planning on asking sports teams to participate in the run as well.
The WHS girls cross country team is taking part in the 5K run. Senior Quad-Captain Lauren Koenigsberg said: “We were approached by someone related to the charity and asked to participate in the run. We decided we would because it would help us keep in shape for the season, and it was for a good cause.”
While the run is taking place, there will also be a kid’s fun run and a two mile walk. Post-run snacks will be provided along with activities for children, a DJ, games and prizes.
Visit pauljacksonfund.org to register for the 5K run, to donate to the charity or for more information.