Hopes and hearts annual run at Coon Rapids Dam

The seventh annual Minnesota Hope & Hearts Run takes place Saturday, Sept. 8 at the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park.

The event is a day of remembrance, celebration and restoration for families that have experienced a pregnancy or infant loss, infertility or adoption, as well as a fund-raiser for the nonprofit Missing GRACE Foundation.

Registration begins at 7 a.m. for the kids’ fun dash at 8:30 a.m., the timed 5K Run at 9 a.m. and the memorial walk at 9:15 a.m.

The family-friendly event features complimentary refreshments, live band Marah in the Mainsail, Hope Rocks Kids’ Carnival, food vendors, exhibitors, memorial wall and more, according to Candy McVicar, executive director of the Missing GRACE Foundation.

The event is hosted by guest emcees, Dawn Stevens, Fox 9, and KFAN’s “Common Man” Dan Cole and features an appearance by Miss Minnesota Brittany Link.

“The day concludes with an emotional ‘Hearts to Heaven’ balloon release and reading of the names of babies who are no longer with us,” McVicar stated in a press release.

All funds raised benefit Missing GRACE Foundation and its various programs, most notably the Center for G.R.A.C.E., a facility in Rogers, where families may go to receive free counseling, attend support groups, classes, visit the library and gift shop and just drop in for support, she said.

Hope & Hearts participants are encouraged to create a memorial/fund-raising page where they may share their stories, photos, videos and rally the support of donors and people to join their teams, according to McVicar.

Visit: http://www.firstgiving.com/missinggrace.

To volunteer, register to run/walk, donate or learn more, visit: http://hopeandheartsrun.org/minnesota/.

Missing GRACE Foundation has been serving families in Minnesota and nationwide since 2002.

The G.R.A.C.E acronym explains its mission best: to provide resources and support to families as they Grieve, Restore, Arise, Commemorate and Educate.

McVicar strongly supports stillbirth awareness and prevention as well as patient-focused prenatal care for all women, she said.

“Missing GRACE Foundation is here to reach out to those in need and offer the sensitive, considerate care bereaved parents and their families desperately need in the wake of a pregnancy or infant death or the devastation of infertility,” McVicar said in the press release.

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