The eighth annual Miles for Max Kids Run and 5K was held Saturday, Sept. 5 in Wahpeton’s Chahinkapa Park. The event was created by Anna and Adam Marohl in honor of their late son Max, who was born too small to survive in May 2011, at only 18 weeks gestation.
The day after his birth and death, the couple was given a bereavement memory box at the hospital, which contained plaster molds of his tiny feet and hands, a quilt, hat, baptismal cloth and candle, and an angel pin. It was all the couple had to bring home with them, and it meant the world to them.
The bereavement boxes are given to families who miscarry or deliver in the hospital, regardless of the gestational week.
“A dear friend of ours encouraged us to create the event as a way to help with our grief, but also give back to the Sanford Bereavement Fund,” Anna Marohl said.
About a month after their loss, she began asking the hospital staff for more information about the boxes – how they are made and if there was a way they could help.
“I was told that the obstetrics nurses volunteer one day a year and create the boxes for the families who experience the loss of a child,” Marohl said. “We were actually able to be a part of that day a couple of years ago and it was so amazing to be in the room with these nurses who have so many stories of heartache – our nurses that day were truly amazing and to know that they care so much about the lives they are a part of, beyond that moment, really meant a lot to us. We knew we could give money on our own, but we wanted to make a bigger impact.”
After losing Max, many women approached her to share their stories of loss. It inspired the couple to create the Miles for Max event as an opportunity for families to share their own stories of loss or to support others who have gone through the loss of a child, whether through a miscarriage, still birth or any infant loss.
The Miles for Max event has always been held in Fargo, but the past two years it has also been in Wahpeton. Each year it raises between $3,000-$4,000 for the Sanford Family Bereavement Fund.
More than 100 people participated this year in the Wahpeton event, which raised more than $4,000. The proceeds are used to purchase memorial boxes for families who have lost children. As part of the race, a Kids Fun Run is also held for children age 6 and younger.
This year, the Wahpeton/Breckenridge BIO Girls group also took part, and it was the first 5K many of them had ever participated in, Marohl explained.
“It was a lot of fun to be a special part of their day, as well,” she added.