Racing to improve kids’ health

2022 RBC Race pic

RBC makes a lasting impact with Race for the Kids

At the starting line of the RBC Race for the Kids at Comer Children’s Hospital, hundreds of runners and walkers line up, ready to race to the finish line on the University of Chicago’s campus in Hyde Park. The excitement builds as families and friends cheer from the sidelines of the 5K course.

The RBC Race for the Kids at Comer Children’s is an annual event that supports life-saving pediatric research at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital. The annual race was started in 2003 by Jean and Daniel Mohan, a grateful patient family. In 2013, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), one of North America’s leading financial services companies, became the race’s title sponsor. Since then, the race has become the largest community fundraiser for Comer Children’s—raising more than $3.4 million and attracting 18,000+ total participants.

“The race at Comer Children’s provides a great opportunity for RBC employees to get involved on the ground here in Chicago,” said Keith Solomon, managing director and deputy head of municipal products at RBC Capital Markets. “Giving back to the local community is an important value of the bank and its culture.”

The race is part of RBC’s Race for the Kids Series, which includes 17 global charitable races—from Barbados to London to Hong Kong to Sydney, Australia. All of RBC’s races support youth-related causes.

“We not only want to provide philanthropic support to Comer Children’s but also to build camaraderie among our employees and engage our clients in a high-spirited event,” said Lauren Stanley Johnsen, global lead, digital channel strategy and U.S. head, brand content at RBC Capital Markets.

Since RBC became the title sponsor, overall fundraising has increased significantly, with race proceeds supporting more than 26 pediatric research projects, ranging from asthma to food allergies to neuroblastoma, the most common cancer in infants.

Funds raised in 2022 are supporting research projects such as a study underway that is measuring cardiovascular changes in children with food allergies who are undergoing oral food challenges to detect an early warning of anaphylaxis. Other projects include investigating the effects of environmental exposures among children with asthma on Chicago’s South Side; developing effective tools for diagnosing and predicting Clostridium difficile, a life-threatening infection; and determining the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy for children with depression and anxiety resulting from a rare condition known as median arcuate ligament syndrome.

In recent years, the RBC Race for the Kids at Comer Children’s also introduced two events for children, the Kids’ Mile and Kids’ Dash.

“Children need access to health care in order to reach their full potential,” Stanley Johnsen said. “Comer Children’s does this important work in the Chicago community, while also advancing pediatric research that has a global impact.”

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