Over 260 individuals braved the snow and the freezing cold to participate in the second annual Lunar New Year 5k in Shoreline on Sunday, February 26, raising over $31,000 to support health care for needy patients at International Community Health Services (ICHS).
“We were pleasantly surprised by the turnout, given the awful weather conditions,” Ron Chew, ICHS Foundation director said. “Over 340 people registered, so we did have no-shows, but not as many as we expected. The participants were spirited and very supportive. Best of all, we exceeded our fundraising goal.”
In 2016, ICHS hosted the first ever Lunar New Year 5k at the Mercer Slough Nature Park in Bellevue. This year’s event featured an out-and-back course on the Interurban Trail in Shoreline.
Many participants at Sunday’s event wore “Super Al” superhero capes in honor of the late Al Sugiyama, a beloved community leader who passed away in January after a fierce battle with cancer. Sugiyama, who participated in the Bellevue 5k, had planned to join in this year event, too. His two daughters and other family members walked in his stead.
Shoreline Mayor Chris Roberts kicked off the event with welcoming remarks, lauding the diversity of his city. The Mak Fai Kung Fu Club performed a Chinese lion dance to welcome the Year of the Rooster.
The Silver Striders, a state-wide organization of runners and walkers aged 50 and older, sponsored the event as part of its Grand Prix series. Six of the top 10 finishers were Silver Striders, including 53-year old Brig Seidl, the first place winner who completed the 5k in a time of 18:55.
ICHS was established in 1973 as a free storefront clinic in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District, providing bilingual health care to low-income residents. The agency now offers services through its seven locations, including new clinics in Bellevue and Shoreline. Last year, ICHS served over 28,300 unduplicated patients and provided interpretation in 53 languages.
Last year, ICHS provided $1.2 million in charity care. Proceeds from the Shoreline 5k will go toward supporting care for these patients in need.
“So many low-income immigrants and refugees rely on ICHS as their lifeline,” Chew said. “Supporting these patients and celebrating the New Year with a healthy, family-friendly winter activity was the vision behind our event.”
The 37,000 sq. ft. ICHS Shoreline medical-dental clinic is located at 16549 Aurora Ave. N. The new three-story facility opened in September, 2014 as the first non-profit community health center in Shoreline. Last September, the clinic started a Young Adult Clinic. Last month, a new pharmacy opened on the first floor.