UCSF Doctor Launches COVID "19K" Fundraiser

A Bay Area doctor is encouraging people to get outside this weekend to exercise and help their community at the same time.

Dr. Tomas Diaz is a clinical fellow in emergency medicine at UCSF. In addition to treating patients physically, he tells KCBS Radio he wanted to help them in other ways as well.

“A lot of my patients are struggling financially — struggling to afford their food, medications," Diaz said. "And I wanted to figure out a way to highlight or perhaps inspire people to donate to local charities, local businesses so that regular folks who are really struggling during this time can get the help that they need.”

That’s how he came up with the idea to run 19 kilometers and support charities confronting the coronavirus outbreak. Hence the COVID-19K name. 

That’s 11.8 miles, just shy of a half marathon.

Instead of paying a fee to run an official race, many of which have been cancelled due to the outbreak, participants are encouraged to donate to a charity of their choice.

“I decided that maybe I could coordinate everyone to run solo but run together,” said  Diaz. And while he plans to run the full 19 kilometers, the point is encouraging people to get involved. “Any run, any distance - getting people to feel a part of this movement and a part of this cause is what’s most important.”