Event has participants running for a cause
By ELIZABETH GOLDEN
The Herndon Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic at Fort Hays State University hosted the second annual Run/Walk to Help Children Talk on Saturday.
Approximately 60 walkers and runners departed from Gross Memorial Coliseum in the 5K fundraiser.
Funds were collected through entrance fees and additional donations. All proceeds raised went to a scholarship fund for the Herndon Clinic.
"We had been talking about creating a run/walk to earn money for student scholarships and help pay for materials," said Marla Staab, director of clinical services at Herndon Clinic.
Staab has been involved in the field for 37 years.
"I have seen the progress individuals can make," she said. "I wanted to be in a helping profession. Over all these years, I have seen children go from nonverbal to being able to communicate. I've seen adults who have had traumatic brain injuries or strokes who have a lot to say but can't get the words out, and they've made a lot of progress."
"I've seen family members celebrate," Staab said. "It's very fulfilling to see what comes of the work we do. I believe what we do makes a difference."
The scholarship fund will be dedicated to students involved in the leadership of the run/walk, as well as children who seek services at the clinic.
"We see quite a few kids who have a variety of disorders," Staab said. "Their parents can't always afford to pay, so hopefully we can give them a scholarship. We have to pool resources so the money we earn can go to helping a student and helping us with the supplies we need."
The clinic is a partner with the Kansas Scottish Rite Foundation as a RiteCare Clinic.
"Their philanthropy is to help children with speech and language disorders," Staab said. "They financially support us, and believe in helping children and really love being around the students."
Senior Karlynn Mizell assisted with the planning and advertising for the event.
"I got involved because I really want to help kids," she said. "I love the program, and we thought a run/walk would be nice because all of my family runs, and I was in cross country in high school."
Last year, the run was a 3K, but it was upgraded to a 5K in order to attract more serious runners, Staab said. Those who chose to run were separated from walkers.
"We thought about what we could do that no one else was doing," Staab said. "This is something our parents can do with their kids. It's a good match for what we do at FHSU. This is our signature, and we want it to continue."