032019_MNS_Pound_Pavement_001 race participants

Children and adults run in the 2018 Pound the Pavement for Peter 5K. The event raises awareness of and funds for peroxisomal disorders and other rare diseases.

Heading into its 11th year, Pound the Pavement for Peter continues to significantly impact children with rare diseases.

Named for a boy who died of a peroxisomal disorder, the 5K fun run will take place March 28 Capital City Club in Brookhaven. It will benefit programs that aid children with peroxisomal disorders and other rare diseases.

“What we raise money for is three areas which represent inclusion education for special-needs children, research for Peter’s specific disease and specialized medical care,” said Brookhaven resident Anne Park Hopkins, whose son Peter died of peroxisomal disorder just a week before his fourth birthday in 2010.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a peroxisome is a small organelle that is present in the cytoplasm of many cells and that contains the reducing enzyme catalase and usually some oxidases.

“There was a genetic defect in every peroxisome in his body,” Hopkins said. “Because they’re in every cell of your body, it affects every system. He was deaf and blind, was fed through a tube, never talked, sat up or walked and was in a wheelchair. More than half of these children die before the age of 1.”

Pound the Pavement will benefit three nonprofits: the Global Foundation for Peroxisomal Disorders, which funds and promotes peroxisome disorder research and helps families and professionals through educational programs and support; the Adaptive Learning Center, which enables children with special needs to learn, play and grow with other students in regular preschool classrooms; and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Medically Complex Care Program, which, allows pediatric patients with multiple doctors and medical fragilities to receive specialized care all in one central location in a collaborative environment.

For the fourth straight year, the portion of the funds going to the foundation is being earmarked for a Ph.D. fellowship at the National Institutes of Health’s rare disease lab to focus on peroxisomal disorder research. Hopkins said she hopes more research will lead to earlier diagnoses of children with this rare disease and others, helping extend kids’ lives and improve their quality of life.

Morgan Smith, the Adaptive Learning Center’s digital marketing manager, added, “This race is so important because it brings inclusion into our community and it allows the community there … to support not only his family and friends but also the things that benefitted him: preschool inclusion, medical research and research for his disorder,”

Hopkins said the 2019 race raised over $150,000 and she hopes to collect at least that amount this year.

Race registration is $35 (plus a $3.50 fee) for adults and children 11 and older online through March 27, and after that it increases to $40. Participants can register in person on race day. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. and the 5K starts at 8:30 a.m. The event will also include games, prizes, a DJ, Chick-fil-A biscuits, coffee and other items.

“This has just been a wonderful organization to be involved in,” Smith said. “Friendships have been made and we’ve united for a cause. Over the years this race has been a great way for the community to come together, support each other, raise awareness for inclusion and bring hope to families like the Hopkins.”

For more information or to register, visit www.poundthepavementforpeter.com.

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