Posted: 11/02/2012 | Last updated: November 2, 2012 at 09:53 AM
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Senior Kelsey Zeswitz and the Lehigh field hockey team organized the First Annual Fox Trot 5K for Parkinson’s Research on Sunday as more than one hundred people took part in the event. The 5K was organized with Kelsey’s mother Chrissie in mind, who was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s two summers ago. In total, the event raised over $12,000 (over $6,000 which was then matched by the co-founder of Google).
The event had a great turnout on Sunday despite Hurricane Sandy on the Lehigh Valley’s doorstep.
“Today has been absolutely amazing,” said Kelsey on Sunday. “I can’t even believe the rain held off for us. It was pouring when we were setting up this morning. We had a great turnout, regardless of the hurricane; it didn’t deter people away. I couldn’t be happier with today.”
Kelsey received assistance from her teammates, who came together to help set up, direct participants, sign them in and more.
“The team was awesome,” said Kelsey. “I couldn’t have done it without them. They all made it through the finish line one way or another. It was great to have them here and it was great to organize an event like this with the people who matter most to me at this school.”
Kelsey ran the course with her mother, big sister and one of her best friends.
“Coming through the finish line was very emotional because I was so proud of my mom and so excited for all this,” said Kelsey. “She did great. She was so worried about it, but did awesome. It was an honor to be able to participate in something like this with her.”
“I never thought I’d be able to, but it was awesome to come across the finish line with her,” said Chrissie. “I’m very proud.”
A number of Lehigh student-athletes also came out to support the cause from a number of teams.
“It’s such a testament of how people want to get involved and contribute to something bigger than themselves,” said Kelsey. “Today shows it. Even with a hurricane on the way, all these people came out to support this and support my mom, our family and the battle against Parkinson’s.”
More than simply raising tangible funds, the 5K also helped raise awareness about Parkinson’s. Exercising and staying active is a way that greatly helps, which fits right into walking or running the 5K.
“I say it’s a disease of inconvenience right now and I really wanted to run today because I’m not sure I’ll be able to next year,” said Chrissie. “It’s going about business as I can, exercising as much as I can and taking the medicines they tell me. I’m blessed, very blessed. It could be a lot worse; it’s just something that’s a little inconvenient at times.
“I think [this 5K] really makes people aware,” Chrissie continued. “I didn’t know anything about Parkinson’s until I was diagnosed with it. It has really raised awareness.”
Kelsey hopes the Fox Trot 5K can become an annual event.
“This year was a really good starting point,” she said. “There were some things we learned in the process that could make it even better for next year. Especially after the way today went, I definitely want to make this an annual event. I think I have a lot of people who’d be willing to get on board and help make that happen.”
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