Getting a shot to save the world (from flu)

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Register now for the Back to School Flu Fun Run

The second annual Back to School Flu Fun Run is upon us and participating children who sign a pledge to always remain healthy and get a flu shot every year will fly away with a flu-per hero outfit that includes a face mask and cape. Medical Reserve Corps will be onsite to provide children ages 3-18 with free flu vaccinations while Bartell Drugs will offer flu shots to adults who have insurance, and there is even assistance available for those adults with no insurance. In fact, Bartell Drugs will have some vouchers available for no- cost flu shots.

According to President/CEO of Fight the Flu Foundation Rebecca Hendricks, the flu-per hero outfits are new this year, inspired because the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted to withdraw the nasal spray FluMist from the U.S. market last year. Healio Infectious Disease News reported that FluMist was ineffective at protecting patients against the 2009 pandemic strain of influenza A(H1N1) pdm09. That means children must get immunized by injection and the flu-per hero outfits are designed to make them feel brave.

Like most families, flu shots were never a priority for Hendricks, who became passionate about educating the community about the dangers of flu after her 5-year-old daughter, Scarlet Anne Taylor, died from H3N2 influenza on Dec. 19, 2014. To save others from such grief, she launched Fight the Flu Foundation, a nonprofit organization with the mission of increasing flu vaccination rates, decreasing hospitalizations caused by flu and, most importantly, ending flu deaths.

This year’s School Flu Fun Run will be a full 5k, which is longer than last year’s track. To participate, register online at bit.ly/flufunrun2017, then meet at Chambers Creek Regional Park, 6320 Grandview Dr. W., University Place, on Wednesday, Sept. 16, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. On-site registrations begin at 10:30 a.m. and the walk begins at 11 a.m. sharp.

“We are looking for walkers, sponsors, volunteers and really just want to let everyone know about this great event,” said Hendricks.

There will be fun carnival games, bouncy houses, face painting and live music.

Craft vendors such as Creative Kreations, LuLaRoe, Neruim, Orgami Owl, Scentsy and others will all have booths there. A Chic-Fil-A food truck will serve chicken sandwiches and lemonade and the ice cream scooter Stuff and Nonsense will be selling dessert.

Participants can also purchase raffle tickets for a variety of prizes including a Seahawks football and a separate helmet both signed by Richard Sherman, two tickets to Seattle’s Shakespeare, two different family packages for Bullwinkle that include games and food at the event. Then there’s a raffle for a single night’s stay at Fairmont’s Olympic Hotel in a king deluxe room, a $200 tattoo certificate, and each participating vendor is also donating a raffle item.

Sponsors that will have booths at the event include Amerigroup, Bartell Drugs, Coordinated Care, Tacoma/Pierce County Health Department, Medical Reserve Corps, OneMain Financial and Pfizer.

Back to School Flu Fun Run is an annual event now in its second year. The walk has two missions: to create awareness and educate people about influenza, and to raise funds for the organization to provide no cost flu vaccinations.

Dogs on leashes are welcome as are rolling skates. The 5K is set up on a moderately difficult path that can be somewhat hilly. Those who prefer an easier walk can talk to organizers about an easier option.

Back to School Flu Fun Run needs volunteers. To offer your help, go to either VolunteerMatch or LinkedIn or contact Hendricks, fighttheflufoundation.org and facebook.com/walktofighttheflu.

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