NJ 6th Grader Hosts ‘Action for Distraction’ 5k [AUDIO]
An 11-year-old Long Valley boy is using the recovery from his own condition as a way to help other children.
Zach Rice was just 9-years-old when he was diagnosed with a rare septic hip infection, which eventually evolved into avascular necrosis in 2012.
The condition was basically an erosion of Zach’s hip bone, and has resulted in much pain and recovery from multiple surgeries.
As Zach rehabbed from one procedure at the Goryeb Children’s Center, his stay was considerably better once his father brought his gaming system to the facility.
In late 2012., Zach was recovering once again, but this time at his home, when he made a decision.
Rice wanted to help the children at the Goryeb Center by providing gaming systems, so they would be less bored and more distracted during their stay.
“I just wanted to do that for them,” Zach said.
His parents gave the blessing for Zach to go ahead with planning a 5k called Action for Distraction. They told him he would be responsible for the bulk of the planning, but with assistance from the family where needed.
“Every day, it gave him a reason to get out of bed and go and try to get the sponsors for this event,” his mom, Shannon, said.
Last April, the first Action for Distraction 5k was held in Morristown. With just a few months of planning, Zach had pulled off an almost unthinkable feat. The event drew 320 participants.
“We got $18,000 and we bought 34 PS3’s,” Zach said.
“Every room at Goryeb Children’s Hospital has a gaming system thanks to his event,” Shannon explained.
On the heels of last year’s success, the second annual Action for Distraction 5k will be held on Saturday, May 10 at the Loantaka Brook Reservation in Morristown.
This year’s race will feature a timed event, mobile gaming truck, DJ, face painter, and much more.
Also, every mom who finishes the race will receive a flower since it takes place the day before Mother’s Day.
“We just want to get more than we got last year,” Zach said. “We just want to make this event bigger and better, so we can just help other people out.”
Proceeds from this year’s event will once again go to the Goryeb Children’s Center, with some funds allotted for gaming systems again, while a portion will go towards other means of distractions for the children staying there.
“Honestly, it’s just to help people. We just want to make this hospital as entertaining as it can be for the patients,” Zach said.