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Donor Spotlight: Dick & Marilyn Sanders

Updated: 11/23/2021

This Veteran’s Day we chose to highlight a veteran who is also an inspiring, long-standing donor to The Children’s Hospital of Buffalo Foundation. Veteran Dick Sanders and his wife Marilyn have raised over $33,000 for children’s hospital over the last 40 years.

Dick, a Navy veteran, chose a unique way to give back through running. He didn’t just run 5Ks to raise money for children’s hospitals, but rather ultra-marathons, which are more than 26.2 miles. He runs in a Children’s Hospital Charity Race whose participants collect donations primarily for the Children’s Hospitals of Columbus and Pittsburgh, or they can choose to donate to the Children’s Hospital in their hometown. This particular race was 24-hours long from 1983-2002 and Dick ran over 100 miles in more than half of them. Now the time limit has decreased to an 8-hour ultramarathon and at 72 years old, he is still competing for the cause.

What inspired Dick and Marilyn to continue supporting children’s hospital for so many years? Dick chose to specifically focus on running in support of the genetics program at the hospital to raise awareness and funds for phenylketonuria (PKU), which is a rare genetic condition where a baby is born without the ability to properly break down amino acid. This can cause severe developmental challenges if not treated. Marilyn’s cousin has PKU which is why they chose to support this cause.

Thanks to their ongoing support for decades, the genetics program at children’s hospital has been able to maintain supplies needed for critical newborn testing for PKU and other conditions.

In 2020 the Sanders decided to help the Child Life Department at Oishei Children’s Hospital, which is entirely supported by donations. Child Life Specialists help children and their families cope with fear and anxiety that accompany with medical encounters.

Donors like Dick and Marilyn Sanders, who are so dedicated to supporting children’s hospital for decades, truly make a lasting impact on the hospital and its patients.