For the second year in a row, Penn Staters and THON supporters from all around the globe can participate in an early virtual Hope Express this weekend.
On September 14, teams will attempt to have its members collectively run 135 miles, just like the Hope Express does during THON weekend every year. Participants can choose to do a 1 Mile “Fun Run,” a 5k, 10k, or even a half-marathon. You can pick out a team here (or sign up as an individual). Registration is $25.
The Hope Express is a 135-mile relay run from Hershey Medical Center to the Bryce Jordan Center that takes place every THON weekend to bridge the gap between patients and THON dancers. It was started by Hank and Connie Angus in 2007. Their 6-year-old son, Gabe, was diagnosed with cancer in 2006 (and will be celebrating 6 years cancer-free on November 23!), and Hank wanted to find a way to give back to THON after his family had been given so much. The virtual run began last year on September 15, seven years from Gabe’s diagnosis.
“I just think the idea is brilliant,” said Hank Angus. “You can be serving in Afghanistan and do a virtual run for the Hope Express.”
The idea for a virtual run stemmed from a group of Hope Express runners as well as the support of family friends that are heavily involved with the Four Diamonds Fund. Hank believes that, with the 500,000 Penn State alumni across the globe, the virtual run will eventually generate more funds than the real event.
Kaitlin Boland (PSU ’10) started Team New York which will be 100 percent virtual – meaning she herself will not even be in NY for the run. She has teamed up with Charity Miles to do the run on Saturday and is encouraging members of the Penn State community (and those in the greater NYC area) to do the same.
Boland, who danced for Penn State Thespians in 2008 as a sophomore, participated in a virtual run in February and decided to start making some calls and ended up getting a few sponsors for the race. If you sign up for Team New York, you’ll be entered to win a prize pack from Hydrapak and a pair of shoes from Peralizumi. All participants can get 25 percent off items at Headsweats.
As for Charity Miles (an app that donates money per every mile you run/walk/bike to a list of 24 national charities), she contacted the founder, Gene Gurkoff, early on. He was excited to partner up with Boland as he is a strong Penn State and THON supporter, as well as avid runner. Boland encourages all members to use the app while participating this weekend. She suggests running for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Boland says, “Overall…we are really just trying spread awareness of The Hope Express and the Four Diamonds Fund. Anyone running/walking for our cause is a win!”
The 8th annual Hope Express will take place on February 20. You can apply to become a runner here.
Although there’s a home football game this Saturday, students and alumni in State College can certainly donate a mile or 2 on their walk to Beaver Stadium. After all, it’s FTK!