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Hudson -- An early spring Saturday is a valuable commodity to high school students, especially after the brutal Ohio winter. However, members of the Hudson High School boys lacrosse team are giving one up April 12 to help raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House of Akron.
Team members will volunteer at the Color Me Rad 5K Run at Loch 3 in Akron. Portions of the race proceeds will be donated to RMH.
Ronald McDonald House of Akron is located at 245 Locust St., which is across the street from Akron Children's Hospital.
"We provide a home away from home for families who have children being treated at Akron Children's Hospital," according to Meri Skiera, director of programs and services for Ronald McDonald House of Akron.
While the hospital is in the process of its own expansion, RMH is also undergoing a "major" $10 million expansion which will increase the capacity from 20 rooms to 60, Skiera said.
"We are full, with a wait list, each and every night," Skiera said. "Last year, in 2013, we had to say 'no' 6,384 times."
The Color Me Rad 5K is a nation charity "color run" which chose RMH as a 2014 charity. Aside from a portion of the funds being donated to RMH, an extra $75 will be donated per each volunteer. Registrants who use a code will receive 10 percent discount which will go toward RMH.
Throughout the run, colored cornstarch will be tossed in the direction of the runners, who traditionally wear light-colored clothing.
"It sticks," Skiera said of the cornstarch. "So you end up in a tie-dyed colored explosion at the end of the race. It's fun from young to old and all the volunteers have a great time in between."
David Blue, head lacrosse coach, will be at the event with his second-grade son, Preston.
"We have volunteered and donated over the years to several charities including the Akron Children's Hospital Burn Center, Akron Food Bank and the Wounded Warrior Project," Blue said. "We were asked by a few parents to get involved with supporting the Ronald McDonald House and their race. I think this is a great way for the players to give back to the community and see what effect this event has on many people's lives."
The team will help with a variety of tasks, including water stands and throwing color bombs, Blue said.
"It makes me feel great to see our players give back and reach out," Blue said. "I know how important the Ronald McDonald House and other hospices are to families of people who have been sick. From personal experience, I know the amount of hardships families have when they are away from their homes and with sick family members."
Blue said "anything that can be done to support them is always appreciated."
"I think having our players do this will have them understand what others go through and what it means to support them," Blue added.
Akron Children's Hospital and RMH are especially close to one of the team families, Sue Malson, and her son, Logan, a senior on the lacrosse team.
"Our family is forever blessed by the outstanding care and enduring relationship we have with Akron Children's Hospital through Logan's 10 years as a patient there," Sue said. "This cause is near and dear to our hearts and it gives me and Logan great joy to be able to give back to a place that has given us so much."
And by helping RMH, Logan is giving back to the hospital.
Logan broke his leg at 7, and his collarbone several years later. Due to the severity of the broken leg, which resulted in 10 operations and a variety of complications, the second-grader had to be monitored for about 10 years.
"The Ronald McDonald House has a huge part in my life since I have such a connection to Akron Children's growing up," Logan said.
Logan and his family have not stayed at RMH, but he said "there are plenty of people that do go through the Ronald McDonald House and need and are very grateful for its support."
"Hudson lacrosse is about being part of something bigger than yourself, a team," Logan said. "As being part of the Hudson lacrosse team we take giving back very seriously and this is one of the ways we want to contribute."
Karen Nye, whose son, Zach, is also a senior on the lacrosse team said "we are so excited for the opportunity to help raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House of Akron."
"The Hudson Boys Lacrosse team already has over 30 team members signed up to help throw paint bombs on the runners all in the name of charity," Nye said. "It will be good, clean, or maybe a little messy, fun for the day of kids helping kids."
Nye, team photographer for the lacrosse team participated in the Feb. 22 Polar Bear Jump at Portage Lakes in the name of "Jump for Maryanne." The entire Polar Bear Jump raised $100,000 for RMH.
Maryanne Kirk, is a 2-year-old Hudson girl who is fighting leukemia.
"We are hoping the Kirk family can also come out to the Color Me Rad Run to represent all the children who struggle with cancer or other illnesses," Nye said. "She is the inspiration for our desire to help support the RMH any way we can."
To volunteer for the April 12 run send an email to Skiera at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 330-253-5400. To register for the race visit www.colormerad.com and use the code RMHAkron.
"I am thrilled to see the excitement of the Hudson boys lacrosse team and families to support this charity through volunteering and to raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House of Akron at The Color Me Rad 5K, Blue said.