Great thanks to everyone who joined the 9th annual CleftStrong 5k Benefiting the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPA). The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio and Ortiz & Law, P.C. were the 2022 CleftStrong 5k Presenting sponsors, making this the 5th year that the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio has presented our annual event, donating a total of $25,000.00 to make this event successful for the community! This event was held virtually across the states and in San Antonio, Tx on Saturday, October 8, 2022 at McAllister Park! It was a year of celebrating many victories just as in years past, however this year included an overdue return to our in person 5k/kids fun run + virtual race combination event! It was as if we were asked to dial up the weather here in San Antonio, Texas. The fall season smiled this morning and the sun shined through! We are excited to say that we hit our 2nd all time highest online registration record this year and welcomed a little over 300 people on site at our in person event in San Antonio, Texas! Proceeds from this year's event will be announced as soon as they are confirmed.
All proceeds raised from the annual Cleftstrong5k support advancing cleft and craniofacial medical research and patient care. Several familiar smiles, and many new ones joined this year with great enthusiasm, pride and a sense of togetherness.
Some special highlights this year included welcoming Ms. Cris Daskevich, CEO of The Children's Hospital of San Antonio. Ms. Daskevich welcomed participants, lead everyone in an opening prayer, and shared an inspirational message of bravery during the cleft medical journey that matched the many brave faces she saw looking around the park. CleftStrong sends a heartfelt thank you to Ms. Daskevich 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 for a second year. She, too, shared an inspiring message on the importance of caring for others and accepting others for who they are, including how they look. She spoke of the amazing heroes she gets to work alongside everyday with ACPA. She also spoke of the diligent work put forth toward research, clinical innovations, and the interdisciplinary care teams that ensure treatment is on track to provide the "best possible surgical, therapeutic and emotional outcomes" for each unique medical journey. As always, we send our sincerest appreciation to the AmericanCleft Palate-Craniofacial Association and ACPA Family Services for their passion to create 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 for a second year, Mr. Brendan Soliz who led our participants in a race warm up, Mr. Gene Rodrigues who donated his time and 1950’s car to complete our Grease Lightning fun, and Yusuf Mehdawi who led his fellow friends on the cleft journey in a chant of positive affirmations and bravery just before our official "GO" time. Thank you all for your leadership and for volunteering your time!
There were several booth vendors ready to greet our participants this year! From ACPA, Culturingua, and Military AC and Heating, to The Owl's Haven - Child Life Coaching Services, Standard of Athletics, Navy Federal Credit Union, and Presenting sponsor, The Children's Hospital of San Antonio. We also had SA Curbside Eats Food Truck ready with breakfast items and our long time returning Volunteer, Brian Silva, who worked hard to paint the faces of some of our youngest supporters!
Congratulations to all 2022 CleftStrong 5k race winners this year. Mr. Alexander Kelly finished as the Top Overall Male Finisher, coming in at 19:15.2 and Ms. Brylee McKay finished as the Top Overall Female Finisher, coming in at 20:18.3. We congratulate all 2022 CleftStrong 5k finishers! To view a complete list of results for all age category winners, please click here.
Additionally, several fun awards were given out this year. Congratulations to our Best Grease Lightning Adult costume recipient: Tina Law! She places in her age category for many of our races and this year, she went home best dressed, as well! We will repeat ourselves in saying, "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 largest 5k team: Team Lindow Stephens and Schultz (LSS)! Team LSS was also presented our 5th year sponsorship award this year for their continued support of our mission! Thank you Mr. Mark Lindow for all that you do each year. It was extra special sharing the morning with your team.
Congratulations to our Highest Fundraising Team: Jack Attack! Thank you for your great efforts to raise money for the cause. Team Jack Attack rallied together with a team of virtual 5k participants as well as personal donors from the Minnesota area. Most notable to us was the love they rallied in support of the little one behind it all who underwent his palate surgery just a few days before race day! We are cheering for you, Jack!
We'd also love to give a shout out to our Largest Kids Fun Run Group here in San Antonio, Texas: Let's Go RSO! They came together and brought great support. We celebrate our largest Kids Fun Run count to date at the San Antonio race this year! We congratulate all fun run finishers and look forward to adding new features to next year's event for our participants! To all those who supported a team near and afar, we send great thanks to you for your support and we hope you enjoyed!
2022 CleftStrong Virtual racers included those from California, Minnesota, Florida, Nevada, Ohio, North Carolina, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Kentucky, Arkansas, Illinois, and New York! Wow!! We were with you in spirit all the way from San Antonio, Texas and loved seeing the pictures come our way. Shout out to our Virtual race lead, fellow mom Sarah Garber, who volunteered much of her time throughout the planning season and continued to work remotely on RACE DAY to make sure all virtual race participants were in the know of race day festivities! CleftStrong Virtual Race Teams gathered from across the states including: Alamo Group, Beautiful Smile 1972, Jack Attack, Kayce's Pit Crew, OZK Runners, Smile Admirers, Total Knox Out!, and Waylon's Smile! If you haven't already, please send some pictures our way to @cleftstrong5k and/or #cleftstrong5k!
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 one of this year's Top Sponsors, Methodist Children's Hospital for the dedication, love, and support you bring to the Craniofacial community inside and outside of the medical setting. Special thanks to Pierson & Saunders Orthodontics and their amazing team of support that flooded the course this year! Your support means the world to each of us. Race Director, Chelsea says it was extra heartwarming to see Dr. Pierson at the start of the kids fun run this year ready to cheer the kids on as they took off, watching Dr. Wang kneel down to talk to the smallest of 5k participants/patients that morning (and looking up to several patients he has cared for since they were that small!) and seeing Dr. Garcia de Mitchell's great big smile every second of the morning, closing the day recounting that "it's all for the families". It is moments like these that still the busyness and get us excited for the next year. Thank you to our medical community for the amazing hearts you have and for the teams you bring each race to show love to your patient families and their journeys. You are our heroes!
We thank the amazing 2022 5k Volunteer Committee for bringing their A game every step of the way to put this event together in such a fun and organized way with their team of volunteers! Each one of our Committee Chairs volunteer months of their time to make this event all that it is.
2022 CleftStrong 5k Committee Chairs:
Sarah Garber - Virtual Race Coordinator
Gloria Madera - Marketing Coordinator
Ashley Snyder - Kids Zone Coordinator
Brittany Roohan - Awards Coordinator
Stephanie Hernandez - Sign in and Registration Coordinator
Torey Reese - Volunteer Central and Welcome Coordinator
Hector Hernandez - Set up and Take Down Coordinator
Summer Nichols - Kids Fun Run Coordinator
Cecile Montanez and Martha Goodlow - Decorating Co-Coordinators
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. You made this event possible and successful in its mission!
To all of our participants personally connected to the cause all around the country, this was your day to remember the strength you gained, the victories you have made, and the love in this world. We hope that you store the memories from this morning in a special place in your heart for many years to come. To all of our participants who are not personally connected to the cause and came to support, we know there are many worthy causes to support. We thank you for choosing ours on October 8th and we hope you enjoyed. You make the world a better place!
Looking forward to YEAR 10!
Ray and Chelsea Ortiz
CleftStrong Co-Founders & Race Directors
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!
With love from our family to yours.
Thank you to Ms. Charlene Bell, American Cleft Palate Craniofacial Association Production Manager for making the trip to San Antonio, Texas and closing us out with the many ways participation of this annual event supports the cause. We thank ACPA for the work they do to create a world in which children born with cleft lip, cleft palate and other craniofacial conditions THRIVE.
Official race photos from our exclusive in kind volunteer photographer, Requena Photography available here! (Requena Photography has made these images accessible and downloadable for you free of cost for the cause!)
Full race results made available by IAAP available here!
If you would like to send us your photos, please email them to email@example.com!
Click here to receive information on the upcoming 10th Annual CleftStrong 5k and Kids Fun Run Event!
Thank you to the 2022 cleftstrong 5k sponsors!
As hard as you fight, we will strive to fight alongside you.