RIDGEWOOD, N.J. -- It’s Thanksgiving, and after trotting back and forth from the buffet for turkey and pumpkin pie, folks can work off some of those calories jogging to benefit a Ridgewood-based charity.
The annual Trotting for Taylor challenge was named after Taylor C. Aguilar, a local girl who passed away at age 7 after battling a chronic lung ailment.
Glen Rock firefighter Mike Aguilar said his chubby-cheeked, feisty daughter was always smiling, even when the going got rough the last year of her life.
A triplet, the blue-eyed redhead was born with Down syndrome. She was diagnosed with a form of juvenile arthritis when just a toddler.
The inflammatory disease attacks the joints but can also affect other parts of the body, such as the skin, eyes, heart and lungs.
Though critically ill, Taylor was a spirited kid who loved her brothers John, M.J. and Max, said Aguilar.
She eventually had to be put on a ventilator and died in October 2014.
“We all miss her so much,” he said.
Since then, Aguilar and his wife, Anna, have been raising funds to help other children with special needs.
The money can be used for medical bills for treatments and therapy, to send a child to summer camp or for anything else that would ease the family’s burden after their child has undergone lengthy hospitalizations or a traumatic event, organizers say.
This is the third year the Trotting for Taylor event has been held. Last month, an Oktoberfest, with music and food, raised about $10,000, Aguilar said.
Trot participants pay an entry fee of $30 and promise to run a mile a day from Thanksgiving to Christmas -- that's 32 days.
If, because of bad weather or for some other reason, they can’t run that particular day, they have to fork over another five bucks.
They can run fast or slowly, inside or outside, but they can’t run two miles one day and count it for the next, organizers said. It’s all on the honor system.
“They’re doing something good for their health, and they’re doing something good for others,” Aguilar said.
The Final Mile will be held, as usual, on Christmas Day at 10:30 a.m. from Aguilar house to "the Hill," and Bloody Marys will be served, organizers said.
The fund is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. All donations are tax-deductible.
For more information, email organizers at email@example.com.