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Take to the streets to support sick kids

CARLSBAD — The fifth annual Mitchell Thorp Foundation (MTF) “Hearts for Hope” 5K Run/Walk that will benefit families whose children suffer from life-threatening illnesses, diseases and disorders. The run will be held at 9 a.m. Feb. 1 at Poinsettia Park, Thorp Field. The event directly supports families throughout Southern California to endure and soften their heartbreaking journey.

The Juarez family is just one of the MTF families who volunteer for and get support from the organization. Two-year-old Ethan Juarez was diagnosed with hypoplastic left-heart syndrome and esophageal atresia/tracheo-esophageal fistula. He was only six hours old when he underwent his first surgery to attach his stomach and esophagus and had his first open-heart surgery at one month. In August 2012, at eight months old, Ethan had his second open-heart surgery. He has had many health issues, since these surgeries, including gaining weight and overall growth. He is in and out of the hospital often and most minor colds require him to be on oxygen at home or to go to the hospital. Ethan will eventually need to have an additional heart procedure when he turns three this year.

“Our son’s health issues have been overwhelming at times,” said his mother, Renee McGuire-Juarez, who lives in Oceanside. “I had to leave my job of 11 years, so that I can take care of him and to be available for hospitalizations. I just want my little boy to be OK.”

Father, Michael Juarez, has been the sole family provider, since Renee left her job, but medical costs have been daunting, so the family applied to the MTF, seeking support, when their medical coverage could not meet the financial hardship they must now endure.

“We are so grateful for the support that MTF has stepped up to provide and we are looking forward to walking in support of Ethan and all children MTF will serve at the February event.”

This year’s event will feature a sky jump by Jim Woods, Safety and Training officer for the Navy Parachute Team, the “Leap Frogs,” while carrying in a 1,500-square-foot American flag for the opening ceremonies. There will be a Kids Run for 5- to 10-year-olds, a live DJ and band entertainment, runners’ medals, a raffle, prizes, children’s games, vendor booths and more. To register or donate, go to or call (760) 603-8853.