How Doughnuts Can Save Injured Kids

Gfeller run web graphic 2014On Saturday November 15, we ran the 6th annual Matthew Gfeller Memorial Doughnut Run. It was a freezing cold day, about 30 degrees by race time at 9:00 a.m., but we had a great turn out. We had 790 runners; a little less than last year, but given the weather, we did very well. We had bright sunshine and lots of fun with family, friends and supporters. We had the Boy Scout troop that Matt belonged to attend. The band from R.J. Reynolds High School also was there to sing the National Anthem and the Alma Mater. NBC media personality Kenny Beck was our emcee and Benji Jones Racing Company this year helped us put on the event.

Most of the runners are families. You see multi-generations; grandparents, parents, kids, dogs, strollers, and a lot of friends. Friends running with friends. We had family members there from Virginia and Oklahoma. Our kids, Robbie and Haley, came home and they brought some friends to run. It was just a successful event.

The most important thing about the event is keeping the spirit of Matthew alive. Matt was fun-loving. He loved Krispy Kreme doughnuts. His friends, Camden, John and Thomas, invented the run and actually John and Camden, who are both seniors in college, attended the event this year. That’s what Matt would have been, a senior in college. Those two guys joined us on stage when we delivered all the running awards and all the wonderful raffle prizes that our sponsors gave us.

The proceeds from the race are divided evenly between the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma and Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center at UNC Chapel Hill. We’re hoping that the proceeds will be greater than last year. Last year, each organization received $21,000 to go to research, education, and outreach. This year, we raised $46,000! That’s $23,000 for each charity and an increase over last year. We are already debriefing about this year’s event and planning for 2015. Maybe we will run it earlier in the year so it’s not as cold! I want to thank everybody who came and of course, all of our sponsors and we look forward to next year.

The money donated to the Gfeller Center has funded a Ph.D. student for a year and they will work on one project that’s related to traumatic brain injury in sports. Sometimes that’s associated with an NCAA study. Sometimes that’s been associated with a local Chapel Hill high school study and it really depends on what Dr. Guskiewicz and Dr. Mihalik have on the docket for the next year.

At the Childress Institute, the money received from the race has been used to continue The Childress Institute’s investment in the multi-year study that was the KIDS study and is now the iTAKL study that measures head impacts in youth football players. It goes to purchase equipment that’s needed for the on-field study with the kids. It’s also helped to fund the athletic trainer along the way. Knowing that Dr. Stitzel, Powers, Maldjian, and Whitlow will continue the study through 2019, gives us confidence that the money donated to The Childress Institute from the Matt Gfeller Doughnut Run is doing good work. We know Matt is smiling on us for all the good work the run accomplishes.

Bob Gfeller, Executive Director of the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma

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