At its core, the Move For Kids event for Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago is always about community. Whether it was in the Loop, Streeterville or this year, virtually bringing the community together, the heart of Move for Kids hasn’t changed.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, changes to the walk would need to be made, yet the focus remained keeping the fun, active feeling of coming together.
With families participating at home, the walk scheduled for May 17 has become a three-day affair, with virtual hangouts and events planned all weekend long.
Move For Kids became a free event last year, with nearly 3,500 families participating in the three mile walk that ended with a celebration at Soldier Field. The virtual version of the walk is still free, and the hope is to use out-of-the-box fundraising efforts to raise $400,000 through donations to support Lurie’s COVID response efforts.
Jessica Brooks, the event coordinator for Move For Kids, says that the organizing committee and sponsors pivoted quickly to keep the fun when the event moved from Soldier Field to a virtual stage.
“We are not losing sight of that essence of trying to bring everybody together, especially now in a time that I think we’re all feeling a little isolated and a little secluded and maybe missing that community feel a little bit,” Brooks says. “We’re hoping to provide a platform for folks to feel connected to each other while they support Lurie Children’s.”
With family-friendly ideas like chalking the sidewalk or creating neighborhood obstacle courses and scavenger hunts, families and communities participating in the walk and run with kids can stay involved and active for 3 miles.
The event will open on Friday, May 15 with workouts coordinated with some of Chicago’s top fitness studios. Participants can challenge family members or coworkers to join the virtual workout and those that don’t accept the challenge can donate to the fund.
On Saturday, May 16, Move For Kids recommends a virtual family movie night, with everyone watching the same movie together. Keep it interesting – and keep the fundraising going – with donations for every time a character says a word (watch Finding Nemo and drop a dollar each time you hear the word “fish”) or you recognize a Chicago location your family has visited (try Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or Adventures in Babysitting). Contact Stella Barra in Lincoln Park for a movie night kit to make your own pizza.
Sunday, May 17 – race day! – will include the opening remarks that you can expect at the live event, but with a virtual twist. Bizar Entertainment will help make warm-up stretches fun and unique before families virtually – and with social distancing – keep Move For Kids alive in their communities.
How to help
Families can register individually or create a team by extending the signup to aunts, uncles and grandparents or forming a community team around the neighborhood. (At the website, you can also learn more about Alexis, this year’s Move For Kids Patient Champion.)
Adults that raise at least $100 and kids that raise at least $50 will earn a T-shirt to wear during and after the event.
If your family chooses one of the fundraising options, like a workout challenge or a virtual movie night, share your fun on social media with the community hashtag #Move4Kids.
Lurie’s COVID response efforts
As the needs for COVID relief are changing, so are the response efforts from Lurie’s COVID fund.
Whether it’s helping someone on the hospital staff find safe transportation to work, providing PPE to doctors and nurses or providing relief to families who have lost jobs, the response is changing as the situation changes.
“This is allowing the hospital to support the greatest needs as a result of the pandemic,” Brooks says. “Having a fund that is specific to COVID support, but isn’t so specific that it’s only purchasing PPE or an emergency fund or even more specific than that is a sweet spot for our leadership, and I think it’s also been a great way for our participants to feel more comfortable about fundraising right now because they’re spreading the message that it’s supporting Lurie Children’s and COVID relief efforts, and making sure that those two things are blending together.”