Henry’s Heroes run to raise funds for playground

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OAKLEAF – Despite the chilly morning temperature of 45 degrees, about 100 people lined up at Oakleaf High Saturday morning to run a 5K race benefitting Henry’s Heroes, a Jacksonville charity dedicated to the memory of Henry Robert Kruck, a boy who was born with a rare chromosome disorder, 1p36 Deletion Syndrome.

The 5K and a one-mile fun run raised funds which will go towards the project of the new playground at Huffman Boulevard north of the University of North Florida campus. Groundbreaking is scheduled for this spring with an expected completion time this summer.

“I’m so grateful that everyone is willing to get up on Saturday morning and run for a great cause,” said Henry’s mother, Rebecca Kruck. “Some of the people I know but a lot of them I don’t know and it just means a lot to me that they’re willing to take part in this journey with us.”

The registration fee started at $25, then closer to the day of the even rose to $35 and finally was $40 on the day of the event.

The runners took off and the eventual winner, Dylan Nelson, was out in front early.

He stayed in the lead for the duration of the run before cruising down the homestretch and crossing the finish line at a time of 16 minutes, 38 seconds.

“This was a good race for a good cause,” Nelson said. “I wanted to help and also get out here and work on seeing where I am for track season. Not bad but still off from where I need to be [time-wise].”

Henry’s Heroes works with the city of Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department in order to design and build a playground that removes barriers to children with disabilities and foster an environment of inclusion.

Henry Kruck lived to be only 3 before, unfortunately, dying in 2017 due to complications of the disorder. He lived his short life with congenital disabilities and both developmental and cognitive delays. He was loved by his parents, Dan and Rebecca Kruck and is remembered by the nonprofit they started in his name, Henry’s Heroes.

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