On Sunday, the chain grew.
Roughly 800 participated in the first Sean Fischel Connect 5k and one-mile fun run at Moorestown High School. Sean's mother, Kim Fischel, said the turnout exceeded all expectations, which was perfectly illustrated when organizers realized they'd run out of the approximately 500 T-shirts they'd ordered for the event*.
She estimated they'd raised about $30,000 between race registrations and sponsorships, but wasn't sure of what the net would be once expenses were deducted. Sean's father, Brian, estimated they'd come away with about $25,000—all of which will be donated to the Moorestown Library and the township Parks and Recreation Department.
"The cool thing is it’s going to give back to Moorestown," said Brian. "This community has been such a support for us. It’s an awesome way to kind of give back."
Just before the start of the race, Kim's father, Kurt Muse, spoke before the crowd and thanked the community for rallying around his family during and after Sean's struggle.
"Members of this community came to my family’s rescue and provided two meals a day for 100 days," he said. "People did it because you have a sense of community, a very unusual sense of community. You connected to Sean. When Sean passed, the service at the church ... we had about 700 or 800 people show up at a 7-year-old boy’s funeral. You connected with a little boy; the little boy connected with you."
Muse described Moorestown as an "extraordinary community," and urged those in attendance to "keep connecting."
"I know Sean is very, very worried about how his parents and his brother and sister are doing. I want him to see all of these people holding hands and letting Sean know that (his family is) in fact loved and supported," Muse said. "You have come together. There is some good, some extraordinary good, that has come out of this horrible and tragic event."
Kim was overwhelmed at the success of the event—which she said would be the first of many Sean Fischel Connect events—and credited Sean with making it so.
"I believe he brought us this beautiful, sunny day," she said. "He’s smiling down on us right now, seeing all of his friends playing, all of his friends wearing his favorite color blue shirt. There’s nothing more he would have wanted."
(*Kim said everyone who registered for the race will receive a shirt.)
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