Hundreds of red balloons will take to the skies as thousands of runners and cyclists take to the streets at the seventh annual Alliance Data Red Balloon Run & Ride at the Children’s Health Plano campus. The signature fundraising event, benefiting Children’s Health, is scheduled for April 22 beginning at 7:15 a.m.

From a 1K fun run to a 72-mile bike ride, there is something for everyone at the event, including activities for children and families. The Run & Ride is produced by Passion for Children’s for the exclusive benefit of Children’s Health. Alliance Data is the Run & Ride’s title sponsor, and Capital One and Denbury are presenting sponsors of the family event, which last year attracted more than 15,000 people to the Plano campus, located at 7601 Preston Road, and raised more than $762,245.

In addition to the pre-race registration fee ($5 to $15 for children; $35 for those over age 12), participants are encouraged to support Children’s Health by donating an additional amount, or by creating or joining an existing team committed to raise funds for a specific cause. Each team – last year there were 212 – chooses a specific area at Children’s Health to support with their fundraising dollars. Teams of grateful patient families, friends and even the Children’s Health caregivers themselves support cancer, heart disease, organ transplantation, gastroenterology, allergies, the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern, and more. When registering, participants can join an existing team, form their own team, register as an individual runner or cyclist, or simply donate.

Click here to register and donate!

“Children’s Health is an essential part of this community, and the Alliance Data Red Balloon Run & Ride provides participants with a great opportunity to show that they care about the kids and families in their community,” said Joel Williams, who is the mayor of Highland Park, as well as the founder and president of Passion for Children’s, which has been a supporter of Children’s since 2009. “The event also gives patients an opportunity to show their support and thanks to the doctors and nurses who cared for them.”

The Red Balloon Run & Ride starts at 7:15 a.m. with a bike rally, and by 8:45 a.m., the 5K cycling participants roll out. There are also cycling courses of 23, 36, 57 and 72 miles. The 1K fun run starts at 9:30 a.m., and the 5K run/walk begins at 10:30 a.m. Concurrently, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., families and children can participate in lots of activities and entertainment, from bubble-blowing and hula-hooping to chalk artistry and face-painting – all free. Food trucks on site will offer breakfast and lunch fare, with a portion of proceeds benefiting Children’s Health, too.

“What a great opportunity for families to get outside together and enjoy a day of fun and exercise, with the added bonus of supporting Children’s Health,” said Brent Christopher, Children’s Medical Center Foundation president. “We are particularly proud to introduce Alliance Data as our title sponsor and to join with them in supporting North Texas children where they live, learn and play. Children’s Health does a fantastic job of taking care of sick and injured children, but we also want to encourage and promote healthy lifestyles to keep kids out of the hospital in the first place. We continue to be encouraged by the commitment and support of our hundreds of Red Balloon Run & Ride teams – and, in particular, Joel Williams and his Passion for Children’s organization.”

Mr. Williams is a member of the Executive Committee of the Children’s Medical Center Foundation board of directors and an honorary life member of the Children’s Health System of Texas board of directors.

In addition to Alliance Data, Capital One and Denbury, other sponsors of the Red Balloon Run & Ride include Cigna, Granite Properties Inc., HilltopSecurities, The Dallas-Fort Worth Lexus Dealers, Occidental Chemical Corporation, RBFCU, Tom Thumb Food & Pharmacy, WFAA and Whataburger.

For more information, to register, to donate, and to view highlights from past events, please visit Share your photos on race day at #runandride.

About Children’s Health

Children’s Health is the eighth-largest pediatric health care provider in the nation and the leading pediatric health care system in North Texas, providing a full spectrum of health care services – from daily wellness and primary care to specialty visits and critical care. Holding eight disease-specific care certifications from The Joint Commission, Children’s Health has been consistently named one of the nation’s top pediatric providers by U.S. News & World Report. The Children’s Health system includes Children’s Medical Center Dallas, as well as Children’s Medical Center Plano, multiple specialty centers, Children’s Health Pediatric Group primary care practices, Our Children’s House rehabilitation facilities, home health, physician services, the Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern, and Children’s Medical Center Foundation. To learn more, please visit

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Rebecca Silvestri

Rebecca Silvestri is the vice president of Sales & Marketing. She is also the wife of Philip Silvestri, publisher of Local Profile. In a previous life, Rebecca was a math teacher in London and the...