The Baber family is making the ASK 5K Donut Run, presented by Dunkin’, a sweet family affair. This year marks their fifth year as chairs of one of ASK’s signature fundraising events, but their involvement with ASK goes back to 2006.
In 1992, Jim Baber lost his fraternity brother, Tad DuPriest, in a tragic car accident and then his best friend, Chris Cullather to cancer the very next month, he knew he needed to honor their memories and the good work they had started with children’s organizations. Jim helped create the Tad DuPriest Foundation (now Tad’s Kids) in 2006 as an organization that serves children through support, advocacy and funding throughout Central Virginia. “Tad was my little brother in Kappa Alpha Order fraternity at Randolph-Macon College. He was an amazing guy and died while working with kids. I just couldn’t let his name or his memory die,” says Baber.
Jim discovered ASK and the two organizations quickly formed a unique partnership to make lives better for children with cancer. Jim now serves on the ASK Board of Directors and is the longest serving Board member. “My goal is for ASK to become a household name in Central Virginia,” explains Baber. “Unfortunately, many people don’t know how much ASK provides for our pediatric cancer families – everything from snacks and art therapy in clinic to financial assistance and amazing family events. It’s why my family chooses to donate our time to ASK.”
Alex Baber, now age 17, began volunteering with ASK when he was nine years old. He says he saw his dad giving his time and resources to ASK and was inspired to be part of the fun. He now leads several events for ASK and the Donut Run.
“I remember the first time I volunteered for the ASK holiday party,” remembers Alex. “I was blown away by the holiday party and that the kids were just as excited about the presents as they were the food. My dad explained that they spend a lot of time eating hospital food and it really opened my eyes to what these kids go through and how much they give up because they are sick. I knew then that ASK would be part of my life for the rest of my life.” Alex was the 2014 Tad DuPriest Youth Volunteer of the Year award recipient.
Mom Mary Beth is part of the ASK volunteer network, as well. “For us, it’s about families helping families. If we can help alleviate some of the small stresses, then the families can concentrate on the hard stuff and we’ve done our job. It’s a privilege to work with ASK as a family.”
Jim and Alex continue to act as ASK spokespersons, and coordinate the ASK 5K Donut Run, presented by Dunkin’ at St. Christopher’s School, where Jim attended and Alex is a senior. Each year, the Baber family works to expand the event by introducing the “best donut attire” costume contest, the kid dash, and this year, Alex has issued a school challenge to encourage other schools to form teams and join the walk. With a goal of $65,000, Alex is hoping area schools will come out in force and families will choose to walk together.
“Just because we’re fortunate enough to chair this event, we’re not special. We go about our day-to-day lives, and we are just a regular family. We’re proof that any family can make a huge impact by giving their time and helping raise awareness. After all, you’re not that busy if you’re truly passionate. It’s easy to make a difference.” Thanks for making it look so easy, Alex.
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