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Families Accept FitQuest Challenge in Chappaqua

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. — Elementary school-age children and their families came out Saturday for FitQuest, a day of fun fitness challenges to raise money for Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco.

Held at Chappaqua Crossing at the hospital’s new ambulatory care facility, the field day event had high school juniors and seniors, many from the hospital’s President’s Junior Leadership Council, shepherding children ages 5 to 10 through different fitness activities.

Among the course's many stations were an “Angry Birds”-themed beanbag-flinging contest, which tested arm strength; a football toss, which gauged coordination and accuracy; and hurdle races, which required agility and endurance.

“One of the best ways for children to be happy and healthy is through regular exercise, especially with their family members,” Dr. Pete Richel, chief of the Department of Pediatrics, said in a news release. Richel volunteered for the “Dunk the Doctor” dunk tank, taking his seat on the platform in full scuba gear.

Event committee co-Chair Ayo Hart, assistant varsity basketball coach at Mount Vernon High School and a mother of young twin girls, said that seeing a dad throw around a football or a mom going through the obstacle course with her kids is what “makes my day."

It is great to witness the togetherness fostered by fitness and friendly competition, she said, and to see the community coming together to support the hospital.

Hart said many people still do not realize that the hospital is a nonprofit. She said it takes a communitywide effort to keep the hospital running, so it is important to increase awareness of that.

The suggested donation for each participating family was $100, and as of the morning of the event, the hospital had raised $49,271, just shy of its $50,000 goal. That was before proceeds from the event itself were added.

Elementary schools from nine school districts were eligible to win one of four $1,250 grants designated to enhance school health programs. Winners were chosen based on how many children participated at each school, and which school raised the most money.

On the sidelines, attendees of the field day could browse tables of health-related products and pick up literature about services offered by a plethora of local sponsors, which included Mount Kisco Medical Group, Kellogg’s & Lawrence in Katonah, the Grand Prix Spins Bowl in Mount Kisco, and World Cup Gymnastics in Chappaqua.

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