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Long Valley Boy Takes 'Action' for Sick Kids With 5K Fundraiser

Zach Rice, 11, spearheads second annual Action for Distraction to help raise money for Goryeb Children's Hospital in Morristown.

Zach Rice before the 2013 Action for Distraction event.
Zach Rice before the 2013 Action for Distraction event.

Zach Rice has overcome a lot. In doing so, he’s making it his mission to help others get fit and blaze their own trails.

For the second consecutive year, Rice and his family are putting together the Action for Distraction, a 5K walk at the beginning of May to raise money for Goryeb Children’s Hospital in Morristown.

The two – walking and Goryeb – have become major parts of the 11-year-old’s life, as he was diagnosed with avascular necrosis of the hip in 2012. Essentially, the boy’s hip bone was eroding, and any motion or weight affecting the joint would speed up the process. The condition was so rare, just one doctor in the area could perform surgery on Rice.

But Rice’s journey through surgery, infection and recovery taught him plenty, not the least of which was finding a way to help other kids.

Rice needed to stay at Goryeb Children’s Hospital on multiple occasions, but found the amenities a bit boring at times. One day, his dad, Dan, brought in the family’s home gaming system to keep him occupied.

During his recovery, Rice knew he needed to help kids at Goryeb in his same position – immobile and bored. That’s when the Action for Distraction was created. 

The event, which raised $18,500 in its inaugural year, provided 34 PlayStation 3 consoles to Goryeb, making each child’s room equipped with the gaming system.

The 2013 event was put together in just weeks. This year, the Rice family threw their full support behind the initiative and got to work early. 

In 2014, proceeds from each registrant’s $25 entry fee will again go to Goryeb; the first 250 registered participants will receive t-shirts, which have been designed by a student; each 5K finisher receives a medal; and the Morris County school (all have been contacted) with the most participation will receive $500 to use for gym equipment.

In addition to the event, students have been participating in an accumulative 23.1-mile event that launched on Feb. 15. Little by little, students will log their walking and complete the 5K on May 10. The cumulative walk is sponsored by KidFit and will award the school with the most participants the $500.

At the event raffle prizes in tricky tray format will be offered, and a mobile gaming truck from Games2U will await the kids at the end of the finish line.

Registration before April 10 is $25 or $20 for each member in a group of four. After that date registration is $30 up until the start of the 5K, which will take place at 9 a.m. at Loantaka Brook Reservation in Morristown.

“I think [the event] sends a great message that a kid can overcome their problems and make such a big difference in the community,” said Shannon Rice, Zach’s mother. “Zach may not be able to walk the same as other kids his age, but it doesn't mean he can't blaze a trail!”

To find out more about the Action for Distraction fundraiser, visit the website here.

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