Imperial, CA— Runners and walkers raced Saturday morning for health and to raise funds for foster children during the Sun Valley Behavioral Medical Center’s 4th annual Sunny’s 5K Run & 1-Mile Walk in Imperial.
As participants reached the finish line, cheerleaders from the Imperial Youth Football and Cheer yelled, “Let’s go. Let’s go runners. Let’s go.”
Psychiatrist Dr. Bernardo Ng said, “We are very happy to have completed our fourth Sunny’s 5k run and 1-mile walk with CASA.” Although Sun Valley Behavioral Medical Center has been racing for the past nine years, it was only in 2014 that Sun Valley partnered with the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Imperial County. Dr. Ng said proceeds from the race event will be donated to CASA to help their volunteers work with foster children.
“Their work is very important because of all things, they prevent mental illness by the work they do. So, we are about treatment and diagnosis and they are about prevention, so, it only makes sense to partner up,” Dr. Ng said of the community partnership with CASA.
According to Dr. Ng, 140 individuals participated in Saturday’s race and raised over $9000 which was, at the awarding of medals, presented to CASA officials Chuck Fisher and El Centro Mayor Alex Cardenas. Fisher is the CASA of Imperial County board president and Cardenas is executive director.
Saturday’s “Overall walker” went to William Wright Jr., 12.
In the women’s division for the 5K run, Arcy Selk took the top award. Allyson Kellum was second place, and Autumn Plourd, third.
Selk said, “It feels awesome. I don’t want to lose. I always like to compete. I’m very competitive. So, I try to do my best. I like to support all the races here in the valley, specially when it is about children. I ran in the Valley to support cancer and also do cancer (runs) all around the country, not just the state of California.” She said this was her first race for CASA.
In the men’s division for the 5K run, Robert Martinez was the top runner. Second place went to Julio Arambula, and Armando Martinez, third place. Martinez commented of his win, “It feels good. It is a nice feeling. I just hope this is good for the kids.”
Fisher said donated proceeds will be used for activities for about 400 foster children in Imperial Valley. He said they have taken foster children horseback riding and field trips to the Fair in Imperial. At the beginning of the school year, we buy shoes for them.
The $9000 goes to a special fund called the Sunshine Fund. “We use it strictly for activities for foster children,” Fisher said.
“We hope to have more runners next year,” Dr. Ng said.