Brookhaven residents Matt and Anne Park Hopkins helped start the foundation, which provides support to families impacted by the disorders, raises funds for research and organizes biennial conferences. Their son Peter, whom the 5K race is named after, suffered from peroxisomal disorders and died in 2010, just shy of his fourth birthday.
“When God blessed us with Peter, we knew there was a bigger mission,” Anne Park Hopkins said on behalf of her family.
Children with the rare, genetic disorders experience often terminal metabolic conditions affecting all major systems of the body, including sensorineural hearing loss, vision loss, low muscle tone, seizures, developmental delays, liver and kidney issues, problems with bone formation, feeding issues and adrenal insufficiency.
“He never talked, walked, ate or sat up [by himself] … but he made a difference to others,” Anne Park Hopkins said of Peter.
During his life, Peter benefitted from the Marietta-based center, which is one reason the organization was selected as a beneficiary of the race this year.
“We provide special trained teachers to work with special needs children in [mainstream] classrooms,” said Charles Schoen, executive director of the center. “Peter attended Peachtree Presbyterian Preschool [in Buckhead] because we provided him with a special teacher.”
Anne Park Hopkins said each year a different beneficiary will be chosen in addition to the foundation.
“Every year, we’ll choose a charity that either helped out Peter or children like him,” she said.
The 5K is a family friendly event and can be run or walked.
In the past, children with severe disabilities and medical conditions have participated alongside their families and supporters.
So far about 400 participants have signed up. Pound the Pavement for Peter has a history of raising about $60,000 to $90,000 a year, Anne Park Hopkins said.
“It feels good that people are learning more and more about rare disabilities,” she said. “Building awareness builds opportunity for funding more research.”
After the race, participants will be able to enjoy refreshments and family activities set up by the finish line.
If you go:
o What: Pound the Pavement for Peter
o Benefits: The Global Foundation for Peroxisomal Disorders and the Adaptive Learning Center
o When: Saturday; Registration opens at 7:30 a.m. and the race starts at 8:30 a.m.
o Where: Capital City Club, 53 W. Brookhaven Drive, Brookhaven
o Cost: $35 per person; free for children 10 and under
o Information: www.poundthepavementforpeter.com