Editor's note, 1 a.m., Oct. 28: The Mothers Matter 5K, sponsored by the Lauren Rose Albert Foundation, is postponed. The race is now scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 25 at 9 a.m. at Washington Lake Park, Sewell.
Lauren Rose Albert was a lot of things: daughter, sister, wife, mom. Above all, she was a giving person who sought to help people she encountered, even in small ways.
So when a car accident claimed her life in 1999, Albert’s family knew they’d have to find a way to continue her legacy. From that, the Lauren Rose Albert Foundation was born. Its motto is straightforward: mothers matter. And its mission is to help mothers who need a boost, from women living in shelters to moms caring for sick children to mothers facing financial difficulties.
When the Mothers Matter 5K run and walk steps off Sunday, Oct. 28. in Sewell, every stride allows the Lauren Rose Albert Foundation to continue its work helping mothers throughout South Jersey.
“We do small things for people who are having difficulties,” said Lauren’s mother, Susan Rose, the foundation’s president and founder. “We want to touch lives with a little bit of Lauren’s light.”
Albert, who grew up in Cherry Hill as the oldest of four daughters, was a mother of three and married to Rothman Institute President Dr. Todd Albert. The Rothman Institute and foundation partnered to sponsor the walk. It’s a partnership, Rose said, that makes large-scale events like the 5K possible.
“Lauren filled so many lives with love and laughter,” Dr. Albert said. “In her memory, we wanted to pay that love and laughter forward to those who need it most. It is an honor and a privilege for the Rothman Institute to sponsor an event that does so much for so many.”
The walk is the foundation’s main annual fundraising event, but the group’s work continues year-round in Camden, Burlington, Gloucester, Salem and Cumberland counties and Philadelphia. The foundation provides assistance to mothers in need on many fronts, including scholarships to community colleges throughout South Jersey, emergency grants, professional clothing for women interviewing or re-entering the work force and, most often, gift baskets filled with personal and beauty care needs for mothers, grandmothers and caregivers.
The foundation recently delivered its 20,000th basket, a testament to the small army of volunteers who have embraced the “mothers matter” credo, Rose said.
“Lauren was a mother and her children were most important to her, and she to them,” Rose said. “Lauren’s legacy is one of love, gentleness and the constant need to want to help others.”
Because of that, targeting mothers in general, rather than a specific illness or condition like many foundations, made the most sense to the family and friends Albert left behind.
“You see women fall through the cracks all the time, especially if they’re having financial difficulties,” Rose said. “Mothers are always acting to help others and we wanted to help them.”
Sunday’s 5K is the second annual race and walk for the foundation, headquartered in Washington Township, Gloucester County. If the weather holds out (fingers crossed), the race should be a scenic run through Washington Lake Park, vibrant now with the changing fall leaves. All proceeds from the 5K go toward the Lauren Rose Albert Foundation and its work.
If you go
Time and place: The 5K starts at 9 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 28 at Washington Lake Park, 626 Hurffville Crosskeys Rd., Washington Township (Sewell).
Registration: Open online until Thursday at 3 p.m. through active.com. Registration is $20 in advance or $25 the day of the 5K. Registration on race day opens at 7:30 a.m.
Who can compete: This is a family event, Rose said—the more, the merrier.
Prizes: Prizes will be awarded to the top male and female finishers, along with the top male and female finishers in the following age groups: 14 and under, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69 and 70 and above.