Not even a year after my first was born, I was sitting at my mom's house talking about the ways to start educating the Mid-Ohio Valley on birth and breastfeeding. I had started learning more about perinatal education and was very passionate about breastfeeding. I saw how much our culture lacked in birth and breastfeeding support, and wanted a great way of raising money for the cause and getting my name out there associated with birth and breastfeeding. My mom has been a passionate runner for a few years and was a member of a local running club.
Could we do it? Plan and direct a race for World Breastfeeding Week held the first week of August each year, or plan it on Mother's day with future potential for having a race associated with a holiday meaningful to our cause... We were ambitious! Why, sure, we can plan a race in 3 months!
We requested sponsorships and prize donations. We booked a location and gathered volunteers. We sent out race applications and then prayed.
"Mom, can you buy the t-shirts if we don't make enough money?" This was a leap of faith for me... for us!
That first year we had 75 participants. 75! That was HUGE for us! I mean, with sponsors and race entries, we profited over $1000 that was all donated to La Leche League. That was awesome!
Since our first race in 2009 we've been added to the River City Runners summer race series, which does wonders for our participation rates (over 225 in our 4th year, and we keep GROWING! WOW)! We have had many repeat sponsors, and many new sponsors added to our list. We have kids and parents, grandparents, couples, teens, singles, families, and businesses all participating in the race for various reasons. Health, the cause, the series, the holiday... whatever it is, it is a fun day for all! This year, we had over 300 5k participants cross the finish and many more in the kids races. It was a beautiful, cold, day and a wonderful event!
There are prizes to be won for the fast ones... prizes to be won for the slow ones... prizes to be won for breastfeeding mothers... but most of all, there is a little something we can give back to our community. A little cash and awareness that, now, goes right back into the Mid-Ohio Valley. And what does this cause support?
It isn't "just" breastfeeding. The health of the mother and the birth experience are a huge part of the success of breastfeeding. The benefits of breastfeeding go far beyond an experience and free food for a baby.
- Is the biological way to nourish a newborn, baby, and supplement a toddler.
- Provides antibodies which help prevent children from getting sick and heal from sicknesses
- Provides neurological and immunological development for that child to grow into a healthy adult
- Provides emotional balance in the child and nursing mother needed to bond and care for the baby and regulate hormones postpartum
- Provides protection against breast and uterine cancer for the child and nursing mother
- Provides an effective means of natural baby spacing/family planning
It is THE cause above all causes. It is the BEGINNING of health for our children and their future. Support the beginning, and the future becomes brighter. Birth and breastfeeding go hand in hand, and by supporting the early stages of life, we can improve our culture's health and happiness for many generations to come. Breastfeeding provides protection against diabetes and all the big diseases most other causes are supporting. But, this isn't just a bunch of money going to causes that haven't improved outcomes over the past 20 years - it is going to support biology in one of the most healthy ways possible - and directly in our own community. That mom down the street that cried because she didn't have support to breastfeed - this money goes for her. This money goes for the baby with latch problems. The money goes for the families that want to breastfeed and want a free place for support. Every little bit helps support our community and our future.
If you were a part of the WBW Mother's Day 5k in any way - THANK YOU! We had over 300 participants this year and made approximately $3000 to be used for things like breast pump rentals, advertising, resource and advocacy in the Mid-Ohio Valley, and a variety of other things that will benefit breastfeeding education and support in OUR community. With this kind of a cause, mothers and babies can get the support they need to have a healthy and happy breastfeeding relationship and healthy future. We hope to see you next year as a sponsor, volunteer, or participant!
If you are a nursing mother, will be, or know someone who could benefit from breastfeeding education and support, check out the workshops and classes available through Esali Birth. EB hosts a free monthly "Breastfeeding Cafe" to provide education and support, in a mother-to-mother environment, for anyone in or around the Mid-Ohio Valley on the 4th Saturday of every month (except December). We will also have a nursing booth, and babywearing demonstrations, at the MOV Multicultural Festival this year, June 21st-23rd.