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Public invited to run for rocking chairs



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Meet Oxford's Eleonore Rocks team (from left): Mark Warman, Hilary Jacobsen, Christian Jacobsen, Hilary Ross and Stephanie Bland. Photo submitted. (click for larger version)
June 18, 2014 - Fresh air, exercise and the rewarding feeling that comes from supporting a cause that provides comfort and support to terminally ill children and their families.

That's what folks can expect to receive when they sign up to participate in the 3rd Annual Eleonore Rocks Waterstone fund-raiser on Saturday, June 21 in Oxford.

The event features a 5K run/walk and 1-mile kids fun run in the Waterstone development. Starting and finishing lines for the event will be at Lake Ridge beach, located on the east side of Waterstone Dr. between Market St. and Seymour Lake Rd.

Cost to participate is $20 for students, $25 for individuals and $80 for families of four or more. The 1-mile kids fun run begins at 9 a.m.; the 5K walk at 9:30 a.m.; and the 5K run at 10 a.m.

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Participants can preregister on-line at www.eleonorerockswaterstone.weebly.com or sign up on race day beginning at 8 a.m.

Checks can be made payable to Eleonore Rocks Waterstone.

Proceeds benefit the Strongsville, Ohio-based Eleonore Rocks Foundation, which is dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of terminally ill children and their families by donating rocking chairs and providing support.

The foundation primarily directs its efforts toward the birthing units and hospital rooms in neonatal intensive care units (NICU).

To learn more, visit www.eleonorerocks.org

Oxford residents Hilary and Christian Jacobsen, Stephanie Bland and Mark Warman along with Clarkston resident Hilary Ross are part of the Eleonore Rocks Foundation team, which raises awareness for the cause by participating in endurance races, such as triathlons, around the country.

This local team has committed to raising $4,800 for the cause and proceeds from Saturday's event will go toward reaching that goal.

Over the last two years, Eleonore Rocks Waterstone has raised approximately $3,600.

"The community has embraced the cause just as much as we have," said Hilary Jacobsen. "The people that we've come across have been very, very supportive."

As of Monday, 98 people had signed up to walk or run Saturday.

The Waterstone event began with Hilary and her husband Christian.

Christian was biking as part of a triathlon and he happened to be next to Dave Friedrich, one of the founders of Eleonore Rocks. The two chatted and Friedrich shared his story.

On November 15, 2009, Friedrich's wife, Rochelle, gave birth to a baby girl they named Eleonore Grace.

Unfortunately, she had heart problems, a cleft palate and a growing list of complications. Little Eleonore wasn't long for this world and five short days later, she died in the hospital.

The Friedrichs shared their painful story on the foundation website – "Saying goodbye to Eleonore that night was the hardest thing we've ever had to do. But, we will always be grateful for the time we had to rock her, hold her, smell her and sing to her . . . Eleonore Grace rocked our lives in a way that words cannot fully express."

Touched by Eleonore's story, the Jacobsens decided to become part of the foundation's team, spreading awareness and raising funds.

"Although both of our children are healthy, we empathized with (the Friedrichs) and wanted to help make a difference. So, we joined their team," Hilary said. "We've been racing in triathlons for five years, but never really with a purpose other than to finish."

Hilary said racing as part of the Eleonore Rocks team gives them "something much more meaningful than just finishing a race and getting a medal and a bib number."

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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