An estimated 100 people walked or ran for the eighth annual JK5K and Birthday Fun Run to celebrate the life of a New Hanover sixth-grader during the week of what would have been his birthday.
Boyertown area soccer player Jacob “JK” Karnchanaphati, 12, of Gilbertsville, was entering his first year in junior high school when he passed away in the summer of 2015. Jacob would have graduated with Boyertown’s Class of 2021.
The JK5K has been held annually in August since Jacob’s passing to celebrate his birthday and raise funds for the Jacob Karnchanaphati Memorial Trust, established by Michelle and Christopher Karnchanaphati in memory of their son. Proceeds go directly toward scholarships to be given out to Boyertown Area Senior High School seniors each May.
The Jacob Karnchanaphati Memorial Trust awarded $52,000 in scholarships to 13 Boyertown seniors during the Class of 2023 award ceremony in May. Since the awarding of the first scholarship in 2016, a total of $410,000 in scholarships have been awarded to 75 Boyertown seniors in Jacob’s memory.
“The virtual JK 5K is a way to continue to honor Jacob’s memory and keep the community coming together — near and far,” said event organizer Michelle Karnchanaphati, Jacob’s mother. “We decided to keep it virtual the past couple of years because it allows friends and family that do not live nearby to participate and remember Jacob the week of his birthday.”
Participants were asked to walk or run any distance from Aug. 20 to 27 in their place of choice, take their photo and upload the photo to The JK5K and Birthday Fun Run Facebook page.
“Going virtual allows people to walk or run on their own time in their own community, anytime during the specific week in August,” Karnchanaphati said. “We were thrilled to see all the photos coming through to us, and it was definitely a successful event!”
“We had over 100 people participate in several different states, and it was fantastic!” she added.
Karnchanaphati said there were participants from Chicago, Massachusetts, Florida and different parts of Pennsylvania.
The Boyertown High School soccer team and players’ families, about 60 of the total 100 participants, walked or ran the 5K on the high school track.
“We were so surprised and touched that they did that!” Karnchanaphati said.
Varsity boys soccer coach Matt Danner said the team had about a 90% participation rate. A small number of students who had scheduled SATs months in advance were not able to attend. He estimates about 30 family members joined the walk.
“We had multiple reasons to participate in the JK5K, starting with showing our appreciation to the Karnchanaphati family for their continued support of soccer and student-athletes in the Boyertown area,” Danner said. “We also wanted to continue to bring awareness to Jacob Karnchanaphati Memorial Trust while helping them raise money.”
“Finally, our last goal was to use this event as a way to bring our team closer together while supporting a great cause,” he continued.
Danner said they want to continue to honor Jacob’s memory and bring awareness to the continuing efforts being made by Jacob’s family to support soccer in the Boyertown area.
“We want the team members to realize that the game of soccer can bring people together for a good cause,” Danner said. “We also want the team to realize that they not only represent the school but also the community. And, it is important to give back and show appreciation to the many people from the community who support the team.”
During the Sept. 6 boys soccer team junior varsity and varsity games against the Perkiomen Valley Vikings at Memorial Stadium, teams from the Boyertown Soccer Club were invited to attend these matches with several teams playing short scrimmages on the field at halftime of both games as well as accompany the starting varsity lineup onto the field for the national anthem.
“We will also be promoting support for the Jacob Karnchanaphati Memorial Trust and recognizing the Karnchanaphati family with their continued support of student-athletes in the Boyertown area,” Danner said.
The next Jacob Karnchanaphati Memorial Trust fundraiser will be Costumes & Cocktails held at Copperfield at Lakeside in Limerick on Oct. 14. Purchase tickets at www.jacobk3.com.
Source: Berkshire mont