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The Bunny Hop, a 5K run/walk to raise money to benefit the Brain Aneurysm Foundation, will be held rain or shine on Saturday, April 23, with the event beginning and ending at Benzinger Park in St. Marys.
According to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation's website, the organization is the "world's only nonprofit organization solely dedicated to providing critical awareness, education, support and research funding to reduce the incidence of brain aneurysm ruptures."
The Bunny Hop is being held in memory of both Becky Frank and SueEllen Paladino, both of whom recently passed away due to brain aneurysms.
Becky Frank's daughter, Taylor, is heading up the effort to coordinate the inaugural event and is being assisted by her sister, Carly, along with Michael, Daniel and Rachael Paladino.
Frank explained that she came up with the idea for the 5K after she recently took up running and participated in the Turkey Trot, a 5K held by members of the Schlimm family each Thanksgiving to raise money for the Prostate Urologic Program at UPMC .
"I started getting into running and I started really enjoying it, and thought, 'what better way to raise money for the Brain Aneurysm Foundation than do a 5K?'" Frank said.
She noted that the money raised through the event will benefit the national organization, which she remarked served as a 'lifeline' for her family when her mother died last August.
"I thought it was important to help out [the Brain Aneurysm Foundation] in any way we could because the thing about the Brain Aneurysm Foundation that's so special to us is that when we were in the hospital with [my mom], we didn't even know what a brain aneurysm was. We went online to www.bafound.org and there are stories on there, there are explanations, risk factors, and it was really kind of like a lifeline for us and helped us through that kind of stuff," Frank said.
Frank indicated that, so far, there has been an 'amazing' response from the public regarding the event.
"We're expecting at least 250 people, if not more," Frank said. "There are at least 200 responses via Facebook."
She added that she and the Paladinos both have large families who plan on participating, along with their friends and other members of the community.
"It's way bigger than we were ever expecting," Frank said of the response so far.
As for the route for the 5K, Frank remarked that she came up with it herself.