The Millstone Times August 2021

4th Annual Om Memorial 5K Run and 1M Walk Event Ram Ranganath, on behalf of Om Foundation

Registration is now underway for the 4th Annual OmMemorial 5K Run and 1MWalk that will be taking place on Sunday, September 12th @ 8:30am at Thompson Park, Monroe, NJ - This event is being organized in memory of childhood cancer patient Om Parikh to help raise funds in support of the charitable services of the Om Foundation. To register please visit To learn more about the Om Foundation, spon- sorship opportunities, and to support its philanthropic efforts, visit During his three years as a student at the Monroe Township Middle School, Om Parikh was well loved and popular. His teachers said there wasn’t a single child who didn’t know him. This love and popularity were evident at the Thompson Park in person events in both May 2018 and 2019, when over 1200 people of all ages participated in a 5K Run and 1MWalk in memory of the 13-year-old who lost his battle to brain cancer in February of 2018. Wearing green and purple T-shirts, created by Om’s sister Yashaswi Parikh, people from Monroe and beyond showed up despite predictions of rain and a thunderstorm. As everyone

got ready for the 1M walk, the sun brightened and skies cleared, symbolizing “Om smiling down upon the crowd,” the announcer noted. Middle-schoolers and volun- teers held placards of encouragement while cheering on the sea of green and purple created by the walkers and runners throughout the course. Many were motivated to run for the first time. They celebrated their achievements while supporting pediatric cancer awareness and research, one of the foundation’s goals. The OmMemorial 5K Run and1MWalk is organized every year by Monroe Indians for Civic Action (MICA) with the support of local organizations, Monroe Town- ship Schools, Municipality and Middlesex County. There is teamwork of over two and half months of extensive planning by MICA and the community at large. The day always opens with Om’s favorite songs sung by students, a poster session on Cancer Awareness by Monroe Township Middle School, messages from the Mayor of Monroe Township, Teaching Staff and Principal of MTMS, School District Superintendent, Om’s Family and friends. The Middle School Chorus sings 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 ongoing pandemic, the Foundation’s 2020 race was virtual 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, California, 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. While we hope to host an in-person event this year in 2021, the Foundation is well-equipped to handle another virtual race should any restrictions change. The Om Foundation supports various programs and initiatives that bring smiles, positive attitude, and the power of perseverance to school age children. It supports youth development and community en- gagement. The Om Foundation also provides financial and other assistance to children fighting cancer, as well as support for education and research that helps prevent or terminate childhood cancer. Over the last year, the Om Foundation has helped many local families and children. It provided fi- nancial 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 aspirations of a special needs gymnast in Monroe Township by covering the cost of private training

Participants start the 5k run at Thompson Park in Monroe, NJ, May 20th, 2019. Nazli Mohideen

and classes. The young lady went on to win 4 gold medals and 1 silver medal at the US 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 others-- peers and adults--to be positive and optimistic, demonstrates an intrinsic desire to improve the world around him / her. The first award was given out in June 2018 to a deserving student at the MTMS. The Monroe Township Middle School (MTMS), 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 huge LEGO table for kids to enjoy and painted a window mural in the tween-area, 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 MTMS student 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 4th Annual Om Memorial event on September 12th a grand success. We still have a lot to accomplish, and we hope to do so with your support and encouragement. OM Foundation, 1 Scenic Way, Monroe Township, NJ 08831 | EIN # 82-4993198 (TAX EXEMPT NONPROFIT)

8 The Millstone Times

August 2021

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