Great thanks to everyone who joined the 6th annual CleftStrong 5k presented by the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio! Our hearts are happy to announce that alongside hitting a registration record this year, a little over 500 people gathered Saturday, October 12, 2019 at Los Patios in San Antonio, Texas to support those born with cleft lip, cleft palate, and other craniofacial conditions and celebrate amazing victories! Additionally, CleftStrong Virtual Racers came together to hit an all time registration record with close to 40 participants joining the mission throughout the country! The same strong smiles and unique inspiring moments took place both on site and throughout the race course.. but unlike years past in San Antonio, Texas, Disney characters and cooler temperatures filled the trail and air!
It is with great excitement CleftStrong announces that together, participants and volunteers in San Antonio, along with corporate sponsors, personal donors, and virtual racers from across the states raised a total of $16,652 in support of the annual CleftStrong 5k and the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association’s (ACPA) mission to advance cleft and craniofacial research and patient care! Additionally, for the first time ever, participants came together through the CleftStrong pre-race and race day raffle sale and by way of personal donations to support local cleft and craniofacial patients in need. CleftStrong is excited to announce a donation total of $3,491 to be donated directly to the ACPA approved Cleft and Craniofacial teams at The Children's Hospital of San Antonio and Methodist Children's Hospital in the coming weeks! The 2019 CleftStrong 5k raised a grand total of $20,144.00 in support of its mission! Thank you!!
Some special highlights this year included welcoming Dr. Mark Boston, Surgeon in Chief and Associate Professor of Otolaryngology at The Children's Hospital of San Antonio. Dr. Boston shared an inspirational message and emphasized the act of coming together in support of one another as being a significant part of the recovery process in addition to medical care during the cleft and craniofacial journey. Thank you for being a special part of this morning with us! CleftStrong also had the pleasure of welcoming ACPA Development Manager, Ms. Charlene Bell to San Antonio, Texas this year. She, too, shared an inspiring welcome message on behalf of ACPA and connected as a fellow mom in the cleft community. ACPA Family Service Coordinator, Ms. Catherine Choi joined us a second year and provided valuable resources for the community. As always, a heartfelt thank you to the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association and ACPA Family Services for their passion in creating a world where people with cleft and craniofacial conditions THRIVE! To connect with ACPA Family Services and the resources they provide for the craniofacial community, click here.
It was a very special pleasure to welcome the Hidden Forest Falcon singers from NEISD to present this year's National Anthem, Mr. Gabe Rodriguez, Founder of Rally Up Fitness who led our participants in a race warm up, and Yusuf Mehdawi who shared his very own poem about his strength and bravery throughout his Craniofacial journey. Thank you for making a difference this morning with leadership and your passion for others.
Congratulations to all 2019 CleftStrong 5k race winners this year. Mr. Jacob Buhler finished as the Top Overall Male Finisher, coming in at 17:15.5 and Ms. Leah Evans finished as the Top Overall Female Finisher, coming in at 21:06.5! We honor personal journeys and the unique strengths to be found in each one. We appreciate the variety of personal goals on the route each year and we want to send a heartfelt congratulations to all CleftStrong 5k and Kids Fun Run finishers for their victories made and the support their experience provided! For a complete list of all age category winners, please click here. Additionally, several fun awards were given out this year. Congratulations to our Best Adult Disney costume for a second year in a row: Annette Ramirez who came dressed as The Mad Hatter and Best Child Disney Costume: Oscar Martinez who came dressed as Stitch! Far beyond a fun costume contest, there is a joy that comes with people using creative minds to create joy. Thank you for your fun spirit! Congratulations to our two largest virtual race teams this year with a tie: Hazel's Liberty CleftStrong 5k Idaho and Kayce's Pride with participants scattered across Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maryland, and Virgin Islands! For a third year in a row, Team Amaris' Army of Angels came in as our largest team! This year's top fundraising team was: Riley's Runners! To all those who supported a team near and afar, we send great thanks to you for your support!!
Hazel's Liberty ties for the 2019 CleftStrong 5k Largest Virtual Race Team! This is the 2nd annual CleftStrong 5k Idaho Virtual Race put on by Organizer and fellow mom, Addison Ellenberger and family. In the several months before race day, Addison works to spread awareness and round up her community in Idaho! You can visit the CleftStrong 5k Idaho page on Facebook for more details on how to get involved next year! Addison shares, "My husband and I decided to start a Virtual team here because we wanted to be involved in the CleftStrong 5K! Doing this 5K is now a tradition to our family and close friends to help raise awareness and show support! We also want to teach all the younger kids about clefts, so that they don’t think ‘Clefties’ are any different than them!"
Kayce's Bigger Pride ties for the 2019 CleftStrong 5k Largest Team! Kayce's Pride had racers from all across the states with an aunt in Maryland, friends in Massachusetts and St. Thomas, and Grandpa + pup who chose to bike and walk along a nature trail in support of their warrior.. just to name a few! Kayce's mom shares, "Having our son, the whole experience around it, has brought out the best in so many people around us. Our support system is more than I could’ve asked for."
AMARIS' ARMY OF ANGELS
Team Amaris' Army of Angels takes home the 2019 CleftStrong 5k Largest Team Prize for a 3rd year in a row! Team Organizer Lea Zarazua along with Amaris and family spend the pre-race months rallying their team of supporters. Amaris and her mom and dad have attended the CleftStrong 5k since it's beginning in 2014! They bring an amazing love and energy to this morning! Just before race day, Team Organizer and mom Lea shares, " I am so excited about Saturday!!! I always get so emotional during opening ceremonies. Thank you again for doing this for our cleft community. You have given Amaris a day to be celebrated because of her cleft, you have given her a day to be proud she was born with a cleft. I can’t thank you enough."
Team Riley's Runners came in as the 2019 CleftStrong 5k Highest Fundraising Team for the first year! Thank you for sharing this morning with us and for your efforts to support others on the same journey!
This being the 6th CleftStrong 5k event meant so many things for the CleftStrong organization! It brought the opportunity for race directors to pay a special recognition to its loyal sponsors who have supported the CleftStrong mission over the past five consecutive years. "One thing I have learned is that each year brings unique challenges and a great deal of unknowns. I have learned to expect the overwhelm of starting from scratch coupled with the very long list to accomplish each year! There is always one thing I can know for certain. Every thing that happens on this one special morning will be because of someone giving and doing from the heart. It will be because of someone giving and doing when they don't have to. People from the community and beyond will bring and give something that they have to better someone else's life in one way or another each and every year. For that, I can describe this morning as "special". THANK YOU TO OUR 5 YEAR SPONSORS: ORTIZ & BATIS, P.C., DR. ROY GONZALEZ, JR., TIM STRONG & MSC EARTHWORK for your continued belief and support in our mission.
For a second year, the CleftStrong 5k offered a kids fun run for participants 9 and under to run, walk, or stroll for cleft and other craniofacial conditions! All participants went home with a finisher medal as a reminder of the #CleftStrong mission and their very own unique part in it!
Youth participants took some time to create hand made cards for those undergoing their first major cleft lip or palate surgery. All cards will be included in care packages that CleftStrong distributes to the Children's Hospital of San Antonio and Methodist Children's Hospital Craniofacial Teams throughout the year.
As always, we are thankful for the hearts of our youngest supporters on this day!
2019 CleftStrong Virtual racers included those from New Braunfels and Richmond, Texas, North Pole, Alaska, California, Michigan, Idaho, North and South Carolina, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and The Virgin Islands! We were with you in spirit all the way from San Antonio, Texas and loved seeing the pictures come our way. Shout out to all of our CleftStrong Virtual Race Teams from Aiden's Ginger Snaps all the way to Team W,X,Y & Z! What a movement YOU ROCK!! If you haven't already, please send some pictures our way to @cleftstrong and/or #cleftstrong5k2019.
As always, thank you to Dr. Garcia de Mitchell. Dr. Peter Wang and the Cleft and Craniofacial Teams at Children's Hospital of San Antonio and Methodist Children's Hospital for the dedication, love, and support you bring to the craniofacial community inside and outside of the medical setting.
We send a warm thank you to the CleftStrong 5k Committee for months of dedication and shared skills to put this morning together along with their teams of volunteers! To our corporate sponsors and personal donors, thank you for believing in our mission and choosing our organization to support! If you would like to be a part of next year's event, please contact us here!
Until next year,
Ray and Chelsea Ortiz
CleftStrong Co-Founders & Race Directors
• Official race photos from our exclusive in kind volunteer photographer, Requena Photography available here! (Requena Photography has made these images accessible and downloadable for your use with code: 4380.)
• Full race results made available by IAAP available here!
When our cleft journey began back in 2013, we asked God to take the wheel. We would have never imagined that He would take us into the unfamiliar territory of directing a race. We thank God that we have met amazing friends like you all through His ultimate plan. Here's to moving forward even stronger another year!
7TH ANNUAL CLEFTSTRONG 5K
SAVE THE DATE!!
SATURDAY, OCT. 10, 2020
THANK YOU TO THE 2019 CLEFTSTRONG 5K SPONSORS:
As hard as you fight, we will strive to fight alongside you.