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An MVP for Brain Tumor Research

For the community service requirement of Olivia Parven’s Bat Mizvah, Olivia walked the walk. A seventh-grader at Cabin John Middle School, Olivia raised nearly $5,000 for the Brain Tumor Society when she walked in the Cassidy & Pinkard Colliers Race for Hope in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, May 6.

One of Olivia’s relatives was diagnosed with a brain tumor several years ago. He has been in remission for three years. Olivia decided she would build a team for the Race for Hope as the community service project for her Bat Mitzvah at Congregation B’Nai Tzedek this fall. Instead of accepting gifts for her Bat Mitzvah, she told invitees that she was accepting contributions for Team MVP in the Walk for Hope.

Olivia recruited some of her friends and relatives to walk with her — “Team MVP” (MitzVah Project). “They were really excited to do it,” Olivia said. By the time she walked, Team MVP had more than 20 members. In late March, Olivia was named the Team Captain of the Week by the Brain Tumor Society.

Family members joined Olivia on Sunday, many of whom were eager to join the preparation walks around the neighborhood.

“I grew up in New York City, and I can’t stand getting in a car,” said Olivia’s mother, Cari Parven. “Walking is part of our lives anyway.”

There’s their dog Annabelle who needs to be walked. There’s also Cabin John, three-quarters of a mile from home, a good walking distance to help Olivia prepare.

More than 6,000 participants took part in the Race for Hope on Sunday, and the event raised more $1.2 million for brain tumor research. In raising nearly $5,000, Team MVP surpassed Olivia’s original fundraising goal of $3,000. Many Team MVP members said they’d like to participate again next year.

This summer, Olivia will swim with the Rockville Municipal Swim Club and at Tallyho during the summer. She’ll also continue preparing for her Bat Mitzvah. “I usually practice every single night,” she said. “It’s hard work.”

<1b>— Alex Scofield