The Millstone Times April 2022

5th Annual Om Memorial 5K Run and 1M Walk Event Presented by the OM Foundation By Pam Teel

Registration is now underway for the 5th Annual Om Memorial 5K Run and 1M Walk Event. Mark your calendar for Sunday, May 15th, 2022 @ 7:30am at Thompson Park, Monroe, NJ. This event is being organized in memory of childhood cancer patient, Om Parikh, in order to help raise funds in support of the charitable services of the Om Founda- tion. During his three years as a student at the Monroe Township Middle School, Om Parikh was well loved. His teachers stated that there wasn’t a single child who didn’t know him. This love was evident at the Thompson Park in-person events through- out the years, when over 1200 people, of all ages, participated in a 5K Run and 1M Walk in memory of the 13-year-old who lost his battle to brain cancer in 2018. Peo- ple from Monroe, and other towns, attended in support wearing green and purple T-shirts created by Om’s sister, Yashaswi Parikh. Volunteers held placards of encour- agement while cheering on the sea of walkers and runners throughout the course. Many participants were motivated to run for the first time celebrating their achieve- ments while supporting pediatric cancer awareness and research, one of the founda- tion’s goals. The Om Memorial 5K Run and 1M Walk is organized every year by Monroe In- dians for Civic Action (MICA) with the support of local organizations. There were two and a half months of extensive planning and teamwork between MICA and the community at large. The day will open up with Om’s favorite songs, sung by students, a poster session on cancer awareness, messages from the Mayor of Monroe Township, the teaching staff, the Principal of the Middle School, the District Superintendent, Om’s family, and friends. The Middle School Chorus will sing the National Anthem. The event exemplifies a message of strength and optimism that Om brought to other students and the whole community.

Due to the pandemic, the Foundation’s 2020 race was held virtually with people from all over the country running and walking in support of our cause. Even during the chilly October weekend, the event drew 750 participants from Texas, Florida, Cali- fornia, and even Canada! Participants posted their race adventures, which were then featured on the Foundation’s social media pages, showing people at college campuses, and smaller Jersey neighborhoods. In September of 2021, the Foundation returned to hosting the 5K in-person along with the new addition of a percussion ensemble performance. Monroe Township High School students performed Maroon 5’s “Memories” and Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” among other well-known hits. The Om Foundation supports various programs and initiatives that bring smiles, positive attitudes, and the power of perseverance to school-aged chil- dren. It supports youth development and community engagement. The Om Foundation also provides financial and other assistance to children fighting cancer, as well as support for education and research that helps to prevent or terminate childhood cancer. In past years, the Om Foundation has helped many local families and children. It provided financial support to a Monroe family by covering the cost of medical insurance for the three children of the family who lost their mother to cancer, and whose father had been in a coma. It helped advance the aspi- rations of a special needs gymnast in Monroe Township by covering the cost of private training and classes. The young lady went on to win 4 gold medals and 1 silver medal at the U.S. Special Olympics. The Foundation also established the Om Parikh Memorial Award for Optimism at Monroe Township Middle School. This financial award will be presented annually to an 8th grade student who meets the criteria that exudes a positive attitude on a daily basis, encourages peers and adults, to be positive and optimistic, and demonstrates an intrinsic desire to improve the world around them. The first award was given out in June 2018 to a deserving student. The Monroe Township Middle School, in memory of Om Parikh, donated to the Hugs for Brady Foundation – a foundation dedicated to helping children with childhood cancers. The Monroe Township library was able to enhance its children and tween area through the support of the Om Foundation. The Foundation donated a LEGO table for kids to enjoy and painted a window mural in the tween section, displaying the love of learning and optimistic view that Om shared. The “Optimistic Om” mural, which adorns one of the walls at Monroe Township Middle School, was painted and signed by all of Om’s classmates, and it was an outcome of a middle schooler’s project focusing on positivity in adversity. We look forward to the support of the residents of Monroe Township and the neighboring communities in New Jersey and the event sponsors to make the 5th Annual Om Memorial event on May 15th a grand success. We still have a lot to accomplish, and we hope to do so with your support and encour- agement. To register please visit To learn more about the Om Foundation, sponsorship opportunities, and to support its philanthropic efforts, visit 7:30 am- onsite registration (walk only) | 8:00 am -event begins/onsite parking closes. 9:00 am -1 mile walk | 9:30 am- 5K run | Run- ages 5-18 $12 Walk $5 | Run- ages 18+ $25 Walk 18+ $10 OM Foundation, 1 Scenic Way, Monroe Township, NJ 08831 EIN # 82-4993198 (TAX EXEMPT NONPROFIT) The Parikh family stands with representatives of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, where the Foundation annually pledges thousands of dollars towards cancer research. Nazli Mohideen

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