By STEVEN VIERA
EAST BRUNSWICK — Residents bubbled over with support for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) during the annual bubble race in East Brunswick.
This year, Bubble Palooza — a 5K where participants run through numerous bubble machines that dye them different colors — helped to raise funds to benefit CHOP after East Brunswick residents wanted to express their gratitude for the care their families have received at that Philadelphia hospital.
According to Keerthana Annamaneni, press manager for Bubble Palooza for CHOP, nearly 200 people participated on June 25, with the event shattering its initial fundraising goal of $10,000 by bringing in a final total of $18,286. All funds raised will be donated to CHOP’s Family/Patient Well Being Fund, which helps families pay the cost of caring for a sick child.
The idea to raise funds for CHOP arose after Shalini Samtani, an East Brunswick resident whose daughter received care there as an infant, wanted to express her gratitude to the institution. She partnered with Annamaneni and reached out to Bubble Palooza organizer Dean Del Prete, who was supportive of Samtani’s initiative.
“We are impressed by CHOP and the local community to give of themselves to help others. This is exactly what the Bubble Palooza is about,” Del Prete said in a prepared statement.
Annamaneni explained that while the two organizations are partners, Bubble Palooza for CHOP is technically a separate entity from Bubble Palooza. As such, only participants who registered or donated to the event through Bubble Palooza for CHOP’s Crowdrise website benefited fundraising efforts. Additionally, at the event, which took place at the Middlesex County Fairgrounds in East Brunswick, there was a booth where participants could donate to CHOP even if they did not register via Crowdrise.
A number of local businesses supported Bubble Palooza for CHOP, including Satori Academy, Eagles Landing Day Camp and many others. Free food was provided courtesy of Taco Bell of East Brunswick, Mancini’s Pizza, Halal Guys and local businessman Ravi Annamaneni.
BionPharma, a local pharmaceutical company, agreed to match the donations of its employees, leading to nearly $4,000 in donations.
Another supporter of the event was East Brunswick Mayor Kevin McEvoy, who met multiple times with Samtani and Annamaneni, reached out to his personal and professional network about Bubble Palooza for CHOP, and attended the 5K.
Annamaneni also praised the Dhruv family, who earned the distinction of being the top fundraiser by raising $2,375.
“We’re ecstatic. We almost doubled our original [fundraising] goal,” Annamaneni said. “More than anything, I was surprised to see the community come together like never before.”
Contact Steven Viera at firstname.lastname@example.org.