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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Malachi’s Hope 5K walk/run is a cause close to home

July 7, 2015

Respiratory Therapy students participate in Malachis Hope 5KLast year, Respiratory Therapy students on the Rancho Cordova campus followed newborn Malachi Gordon’s progress in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) from a respectful distance. Many were in clinical rotations there and got to know his family and witness their day-to-day struggle with Malachi’s tenuous hold on life.

They did not realize at first that their Respiratory Therapy instructor, James Maddox, was Malachi’s grandfather. James felt he did not need to tell his students what they came to realize. His family was experiencing something unimaginably difficult, and hearts were going to break.

They lost little Malachi on July 12, 2014, just 127 days after he was born prematurely at 25 weeks.

Jamie Gordon, Malachi’s mom and James’ daughter, determined she would direct her grief into something that might benefit others.  She started Malachi’s 5K Walk/Run to raise funds for other families struggling to stay close to their infants while they are in NICU.

“On campus, once the students heard about the event, they immediately started asking what kinds of fundraisers they could do,” says Amy Bianco, Dean of Student Services. Students earned $1,500 from a two-day spaghetti feed and from student, staff and faculty registration fees for the Walk/Run. SJVC also donated $500.

All proceeds from the event went to the Alliance for Compassion and Education Development, an organization that helps families with babies who are in NICUs.

Malachi’s Hope 5K Walk/Run took place at 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 20th, at the Capital Christian Center campus in Sacramento. Around 120 walkers and runners registered to participate.

“I was really shocked that there was such a good turnout for their first event,” says Raj Dosanjh, Respiratory Therapy student and 5K participant.

The course was two laps around a designated path through the campus that skirted around athletic fields and buildings. “If you started 5 minutes behind someone else, you would still loop around them at some point,” says Amy. “It was neat to see each other and cheer each other on.”

“It was rewarding for us because Jamie was there at the finish line and so appreciative,” says Raj. “When we’re on rotations, we are there to help their child. But it’s kind of nice to do something on the other end to help parents out as well.”

Jamie’s vision is to make gift baskets for parents with infants in the NICU from the funds that are raised each year from Malachi’s Hope 5K Walk/Run. She knows that there are many expenses for families staying close to the hospital, such as hotels, restaurants and transportation costs. She plans to include gas and restaurant cards in the gift baskets to help with those costs.

Respiratory Therapy student Mario Gonzalez participated in the 5K, but wants to do more to support Jamie’s efforts. His mom makes baby blankets and gives them away to charities. Now they will contribute those blankets to the Malachi’s Hope gift baskets.

Mario brought a box of baby blankets to the 5K Walk/Run and gave them to Jamie, along with a commitment to provide more on an ongoing basis.

“Mr. Maddox came up and told me what Mario’s mom was doing, and it was kind of emotional,” says Raj.

“Jamie now runs Malachi’s Hope and will continue to help families who need help when they go through all of the hardships when something like this happens,” says Amy.

Respiratory Therapy students on the Rancho Cordova campus are on board with whatever they can do to support Jamie’s efforts.