“No father wants to watch his child struggle for every heartbeat and breath,” said Eric Linebarger, Associate Architect at Burns & McDonnell who is fundraising for the race to support Children’s Mercy on behalf of his daughter, Whitney, who was born at 25 weeks and weighing just 1 pound, 12 ounces. “Since her tiny start, Whitney received ongoing care from Children’s Mercy, including being diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 11 months old, and more recently, epilepsy. From the neurology team to the behavior pediatricians to the sports rehab doctors who focus on physical therapy and muscle tone, the Children’s Mercy team is an integral part of our family and they all play a huge role in Whitney’s story.”
This is the sixth year Burns & McDonnell and KC Running Company have designated Children’s Mercy as the race’s beneficiary. The city’s children’s hospital provides care for children from every county in Missouri and Kansas as well as all 50 states and 16 countries, with almost 600,000 patient visits each year. The hospital relies on philanthropic giving and community support to fund its services.
“Every year, it’s a privilege to see our patients’ loved ones and others in the community show up to Rock the Parkway to support Children’s Mercy,” said Jenea Oliver, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer at Children’s Mercy. “We’re committed to ensuring every child has access to the best care possible regardless of a family’s ability to pay. With the support of our community, Children’s Mercy provided nearly $120 million of uncompensated care in 2021.”
More than 83,000 runners have participated in Rock the Parkway since 2010 and have voted it as a best racecourse in Kansas City. The course takes runners along historic and scenic homes lining Ward Parkway and ends at the post-race plaza featuring live music and some of Kansas City’s favorite restaurant vendors. In addition to funds raised through individual racers on behalf of Rock the Parkway beneficiaries, Burns & McDonnell and KC Running Company have donated more than $400,000 combined to Rock the Parkway beneficiaries in Kansas City, including Children’s Mercy, Girls on the Run, and Science City at Union Station.
“Rock the Parkway is an opportunity for people to come together to demonstrate their commitment to a vibrant, healthy community,” said Julee Koncak, Director of the Burns & McDonnell Foundation. “From the race participants to the volunteers and on-site medical providers to the Children’s Mercy team, it’s a privilege for Burns & McDonnell to partner with KC Running Company to host an event for so many people in Kansas City who are dedicated to health and wellness.”