St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital received $100,000 today from the St. Luke’s FitOne 5K, 10K and Half Marathon. That generous donation is thanks to the 10,775 people who took part in Idaho’s largest fitness event earlier this fall on Sept. 22. When combined with the donations from the last six years, St. Luke’s FitOne has now raised a total of $538,000 to help improve the health of Idaho’s children.
“Because of each and every person who puts on their running shoes and takes part in St. Luke’s FitOne, St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital has been able to expand the role we play when it comes to impacting the overall health of children in our communities. We’ve become a trusted community partner, and been able to support and help grow local initiatives that get our kids exercising more and eating healthier foods,” said Katie Apple, who accepted the donation on behalf of St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital.
Health statistics in Idaho closely mirror national childhood obesity rates. One in three children are overweight or obese. With that added weight comes an increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, joint dysfunction and more.
“The research has shown over and over that if we can reach these kids while they’re still young, and help them form healthy lifestyle habits now, we are helping to mold and inspire them to be adults who value their health and see fitness and nutrition as an integral part of that,” added Apple.
Of the funds raised during this year’s event, $25,000 will support the new Idaho Elks Children’s Pavilion, which is under construction across from St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital at the corner of Avenue B and East Jefferson.
The $42 million, 100,000 square foot state-of-the-art center for children's health provides a dedicated space for most all of St. Luke's pediatric specialists and services. That centralized location will allow families to make one trip in a day, rather than multiple stops over several days, spread out around town. The collaboration between providers will also provide better, more coordinated care for the physical and emotional needs of Idaho's youngest patients and their families. St. Luke’s FitOne has now donated a total of $100,000 specifically to the Children’s Pavilion. That joins the $25 million the community has fundraised for the project.
The remaining donation will allow St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital to support community and school programs for kids that are safe, structured and sustainable, and partially funded through the CHOICE grant program. This year, those programs include things like school walking and running tracks and children’s behavioral health care initiatives.The event also helped to raise money for other nonprofit organizations through the Group Volunteer Gift Program (GVGP). The initiative was created in 2016 to encourage smaller local nonprofits to play a larger role in FitOne’s weekend of events, while offering an alternative way for these often-overlooked organizations to raise funds. Through the GVGP, St. Luke’s Health System donated another $11,700 in 2018. Not only did the volunteers earn money, but also helped to minimize traffic impacts in neighborhoods along the event route.
Anita Kisseé is the Treasure Valley public relations manager for St. Luke’s Health System.