Racing to improve kids’ health

Group of children at the race starting line
Group of children at the race starting line

RBC Capital Markets makes lasting impact

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, an annual event that supports life-saving pediatric research at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital, 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 grown to become the largest community fundraiser for Comer Children’s—raising more than $53 million and attracting 325,000+ total participants.

The race is part of RBC’s Race for the Kids Series, which includes 17 charitable races across the globe—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 13 pediatric research projects, ranging from asthma to food allergies to neuroblastoma, the most common cancer in infants.

Funds raised support researchers in a variety of fields, including 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 addition to serving as the title sponsor, RBC has donated more than $800,000 to Comer Children’s. 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.

As part of RBC’s commitment to helping youth in underserved communities, RBC Foundation has also donated $190,000 to support Comer Children’s Pediatric Mobile Medical Unit, a “hospital on wheels” that serves youth on Chicago’s South Side who may not receive health care on a regular basis.

“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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