By| Jaclyn Harold

The Florida State University college of medicine partnered with sponsors throughout Florida and organizations at the university to host its fifth annual long distance running charity event.

Several years ago Sarah Hartley, a current medical student and founder of the 5k run, took her first trip to Nicaragua with the college of medicine. Inspired by the reaction that the children from the town had from seeing coloring books, she decided to initiate a program that offers to supplement the cost of the mission trips taken by the college to Los Cedros each year.

“She was really passionate about children and education,” said Ishani Patel, who attended the event as a chairperson for the run. “We have just continued the tradition ever since,” she continued.

For the past five years, the Honors Medical Scholars, Luke Stachler, Mirna Hanna and Ishani Patel assist in community outreach and finding sponsors each December to help plan their spring run. This run typically takes place in April.

Students and others throughout the community joined together around 9 a.m. Saturday morning to support the cause of Book it. Each participant took part in running a little over three miles starting at the Integration statue and continuing through FSU’s campus to a small reception that took place at the finish line.

“This year we’ve raised nearly $2,000 through sponsors and ticket sales,” said Stachler who also serves as one of the chairs for the 5k run. “It’s been a huge success. We had a great turn out with a lot of volunteers from the Honors Medical Scholars Society, and also with the Scuba club.” Stachler said.

As the event came to an end, the volunteers from the Honors Medical Scholars took apart their tent and engaged in fellowship with laughter and contentment after a successful charity event. One that took place just in time for the spring mission trip that’s scheduled to leave within the week. This trip will involve the team personally delivering the proceeds from the annual run last year.

“All the money that we raise every year goes towards buying educational materials for the children in Los Cedros Nicaragua,” said Patel.

Los Cedros is a rural town where the college of medicine embarks on mission trips a few times a year. With their continued visits, the team has managed to develop deep relationships with the community and some surrounding areas where the kids don’t have access to education.

“We normally go there to provide them with healthcare, but because of this race we were able to provide them with books so that they can pursue education too.” She continued.

“We buy books from Scholastics, books that are in Spanish, and we deliver a couple hundred books during each trip.” Said Stachler.

Though ultimately the goal is to end patterns of poverty and to provide the necessary health assistance, the mission trips also serve the students with the charitable opportunity to deliver educational resources to the families as well.

“I think it’s going to continue growing and growing over the years.” said Stachler as the organization packed their cars with the leftover materials from the run. For more information on the next Book It 5k run, be on the lookout for details next March.

Submitted: March 4, 2018

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