Hunter and his dad pose for a photo at the end of the race.
By Amelia Tarallo
Hometown Weekly Staff
It was a sunny day - one of the first warm days of spring - when hundreds of people lined up outside of Medfield’s Kingsbury Club. For some of them, especially the youngest participants, this was their first run. For others, this was just their first run of the day.
The third annual Hunter’s Run, which took place on Sunday, April 7, is held to raise awareness and money for organ donation. The money raised from the race is donated to Boston’s Children’s Hospital and other causes supporting organ donation and transplants.
Hunter Williams was just 21 months old when he received his first lung transplant. They served him well until 2015, when he began to reject his first pair of transplanted lungs. He received his second pair of lungs on July 16 of that year, and with the support of his parents, community, and Boston Children's Hospital, has thrived since.
The festive Sunday began with a fun run. At 8:45, kids and adults running the 1-mile race lined up at the starting line. With one loud air horn buzz, they were off, running down Icehouse Road. Their race took less than a half hour to complete, with most people finishing within 14 minutes. Owen Sokolowski, age nine, finished the run in seven minutes and twenty-two seconds, whereas Taylor Freeman, age 28, finished it in seven minutes and forty-six seconds.
Hunter himself, new lungs and all, completed the race, where he was met with cheers and congratulations when he crossed the finish line. “He did great,” remarked his father.
According to the U.S. Government Information on Organ Donation and Transplantation, there are over 113,000 people awaiting organ transplants as of January. Last year, there were only 35,528 transplants performed (this was a record high). When surveyed, 95 percent of U.S. adults supported organ donation, yet only 58 percent are registered organ donors.
Organ donation is the only way for people with life-threatening illnesses, like Hunter, to avoid spending their entire lives in hospitals.
The 5K runners lined up at 9:00 to start. Included were Hunter’s parents, some of Hunter’s teachers, and members of the community who wanted to run for a good cause - even including a few canine companions. Tyler McCabe, age 38, finished the 5k at 17:29 and was the first person to finish the run. Carmen Luisi, age 12, finished the run at 19:55 and was the fastest female running in the race.
Allison Sahr didn’t run, but she came to cheer on her son, who was running. She found out about the run because her daughter is in Hunter’s grade. She sees the race as a great way “to make people more aware of [organ donation.]”
Mother and son team Kate and Will (12) Boxmeyer took on the 5k together, and had run it in previous years. “I’m tired and my son beat me for the first time,” Kate answered when asked how the race went. “The torch has been passed.”
Like many of the participants, Kate was happy to see so many people attending the run. “It’s a great event,” she said. “It makes me happy to see the community here.”