An annual 5K walk and run organized by local students once again will benefit a Pickerington family in need of medical assistance.
For the fourth consecutive year, the Pickerington High School Central Student Leadership Committee will team with students from such clubs as Renaissance, student council, Sunny Side Up, National Honor Society, Youth Connections and Key Club to host the iRun for Jonah 5K Run/Walk.
This year's event is planned for May 19. It will begin with registration at 9 a.m. at PHS Central.
True to its roots -- the event was established by Central students and staff to raise money for Jonah Hoser, a 13-year-old Diley Middle School student who died in April 2010 following a heart transplant and battle with hypoplastic left-heart syndrome -- this year's 5K will benefit a local family in need.
Proceeds from the event will go to Maggie Lyons and her family.
Maggie is a 12-year-old Pickerington girl who has experienced Grand Mal seizures since she was 14 months old and who in 2010 was diagnosed with Lennox Gastaut Syndrome, a catastrophic form of epilepsy.
Her mother, Kathy Lyons, is an intervention specialist at Pickerington High School North.
As is the case each year, the benefitting family is selected by the Hoser family after receiving recommendations from throughout the community.
"The reason this family was chosen, first, was because (Maggie) was in my classroom and I saw how this was affecting her," said Heather Peirano, a chemistry teacher and NHS adviser at Central and one of the event organizers. "I wanted to give back.
"We know their medical fees are exorbitant," Peirano said. "Her mom is one of the most selfless people I've met, and Maggie is such a sweet little girl."
The registration fee to participate in the 5K is $10, and commemorative T-shirts also are being sold for $10.
"Mascots and More always provides the T-shirts and they do that at no cost to us," Peirano said. "The proceeds all go to the Lyons family and a lot of people wear them during the race."
Those wishing to participate or contribute to the cause can register online at www.irunforjonah.com.
Registration also will be accepted prior to the start of the 5K May 19.
This year, organizers hope to raise $15,000, which would be an event record.
"We will have registration from 9 that morning until right before the race starts at 2 p.m.," Peirano said.
In addition to the 5K, the iRun for Jonah will offer participants the opportunity to meet Maggie Lyons and her family, as well as the Hoser family, who remain involved as a tribute to Jonah.
As a further testament to Jonah's memory, Ohio State University's Brutus Buckeye will appear from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
"One of Jonah's favorite people in the world was Brutus Buckeye," Peirano said. "We're hoping (Brutus) will be able to start the race for us."
After starting from Central, the 5K will venture across Pickerington Road and into the Rayburn subdivision.
Peirano said the top five finishers and their times will be posted, before a post-event gathering convenes at Rule(3), which has agreed to direct a portion of proceeds from food and drink sales to the Lyons family.
"It's such a big deal for our community," Peirano said. "It's not just Central kids or North kids."
"It's the entire community coming together," she said.
"Our community realizes we can be selfless and we can go beyond just doing our jobs every day."