HORSEHEADS, N.Y. (WENY) -- The first annual Orlando Josiah Memorial 5K will take place the last weekend of June in loving memory of a little boy who passed away the night before his sixth birthday. The memorial 5K aims to honor the memory of five-year-old Orlando Josiah Vargas, a young boy who loved sports and playing with friends.

"After the loss we were like you know how do we honor his memory, how do we do this," said Father of Josiah, Orlando Vargas. "We also noticed that at Horseheads area really that there hasn't been many 5Ks to note of  things like that. So we wanted to really not only do something for us to celebrate him but also to involve community."

Josiah passed away on June 27th, 2023. His father Orlando Vargas, describes the short time with his son as incredible.

"They could never really pinpoint it, but it said acute respiratory illness was the designation they gave to his death. So it was like from the morning he got sick, he stayed home from school and by eight, eight, nine, nine he was gone. So it was really quick. So those moments and learning to cherish those moments even more so when you get so busy with work and things like that just holding your kids and having grace for them and patience with them as they are growing and developing Also, that's sort of an additional message as a parent," said Vargas.

The Vargas family decided to honor Josiah each year with a community based 5K open to anyone from adults to kids, whether they want to run, walk, volunteer, or simply show support for the family.

The funds raised from the 5K will go towards creating a scholarship for one or more students from Josiah's graduating class, providing assistance after graduation and before college in about 12 years.

"It was important to us to have other people grieve as we grieve and celebrate as we celebrate in his honor. So that's why it's more of a community event, that's why it's a 5K, that's why you know it's a fun run also for the kids to join in. We'll have face painting and you know there'll be like some bubbles and machines and things like that for the kids to run through and just trying to make it a real community event," added Vargas.

Registration for the event is still open and will remain open leading up to the run on Saturday, June 29th. The 5K will take place at Thorne Street Park in Horseheads, with the race starting at 8:30 a.m. and a fun run starting at 9:45 a.m.

To sign up, visit this link, and to donate, checks can be made payable to Orlando Josiah Memorial Inc, PO BOX 149, Horseheads, NY, 14845.