The 11th Annual CHaD HERO Draws 2,700 Participants
Community and unity were felt by all at the 11th annual CHaD HERO on Sunday, October 16. A perfect autumn afternoon was the backdrop for 2,700 participants and over 1,000 spectators as they gathered on the Dartmouth Green in Hanover, NH for a day of celebration in honor of CHaD kids and families.
This year’s fundraising goal of $800,000 is within reach as the final weeks of fundraising wind down. New this year was a SUPER Raffle and funding match by the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation for each person who reached $250 in fundraising. There was also a high school challenge between Hanover and Lebanon High Schools that helped to build a strong youth component and play off the home town rivalry. Furthermore, the Dartmouth students, especially the Greeks and athletes, rallied to fundraise and volunteer. Thanks to our incredible underwriting partner, Positive Tracks, all youth fundraising was matched. Positive Track’s mission is to help young people get active and give back using the power of sport. In addition to the financial doubling of youth dollars, Positive Tracks provides strong programming and tools for youth participants through a Positive Tracks coordinator.
The HERO was attended by many prominent members of the community including Dartmouth College’s President Hanlon, who kicked off Cam’s Course; Dartmouth-Hitchcock President Dr. Jim Weinstein; retired MLB pitcher Chris Carpenter; Jamie Staton of WMUR News 9 Sports, and Governor Maggie Hassan. Of course, the story would not be complete without highlighting some of the event’s super heroes.
Stealing the show this year was CHaD’s Kid HERO and top fundraiser, Jasper Vincent of the Upper Valley. Jasper (pictured left), a 5-year old CHaD patient, completed Cam’s Course with his own super power. His original fundraising goal was $2,000 and after quickly hitting that mark, he raised the bar to $4,000. Upon learning about this goal, Jasper’s pastor, “Pastor Paul,” upped the ante, promising to dye his hair green if the goal was met (perhaps in honor of the Incredible Hulk). Jasper exceeded this goal, raising $5,250, and guess who is sporting a new green hairdo? Jasper was also the patient inspiration behind the Pediatric Surgery team, who came in 10th place for overall team fundraising.
The event also saw a very special half-marathon finish. Cam Marshall is the namesake of the one mile family fun run “Cam’s Course”. After Cam was diagnosed with leukemia at 8-years old, his good friend Jasper Meyer decided he wanted to make a difference. Due to Jasper’s efforts, Cam’s Course was quickly implemented, and that same year Cam was carried over the finish line by his school principal. That experience and effort was a strong impetus for the launching of the non-profit Positive Tracks by Nini Meyer, Jasper’s mom. This year Cam celebrated being 5 years cancer-free and completed his first half-marathon. Cam’s Be Positive for CHaD Kids team came in among the top youth fundraising groups – with Positive Tracks doubling their fundraising efforts for CHaD kids.
This year’s top finisher in the men’s Half Marathon was Hayden Bunnel, of St. Johnsbury, VT, with a time of 1:14:46 and in the women’s Half Marathon, was Phoebe Novello of Windsor, VT with a time of 1:19:32. An athletic feat was accomplished this year by Phoebe – who scored a hat trick by winning her third half marathon win in a row. Novello is a long-distance runner on the Dartmouth Endurance Racing Team (DERT). DERT was founded in 2009 by Dartmouth student Emily Koepsell, who wanted to give back to the pediatric cancer center community. To raise funds for CHaD, the team competes as HERO Quest competitors and runs 135 miles (overnight) in a Race Across the State, with their fundraising efforts doubled by Positive Tracks.
In the 5 K results, Mike Maguire finished first for the men and Caroline Pennacchio finished first for the women. In addition to the runners, hundreds of walkers, hikers and bikers took the courses to round out the activities available to participants. As people finished their events, a fun family festival awaited. With food vendors, runner amenities and a fabulous KidZone with rock walls, mechanical animals and lots of fun activities, there was something for everyone.
A special thanks to our top corporate partners: Positive Tracks, The Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation, Children’s Fund of the Upper Valley, The Couch Family Foundation, Hypertherm HOPE Foundation, Kitchel-McLaughlin Family Foundation in honor of World Bicycle Relief, White Mountains Insurance, Coldwell Banker Lifestyles, Bank of America, Farley White Interests, Global Forest Partners, BaySon Company, Wright-Hagar Foundation and Liberty Utilities.
CHaD thanks everyone who helped make the 2016 CHaD HERO a gigantic success. The event would not be possible without the outstanding corporate partners, participants and countless volunteer hours – which add up to a positive impact in the lives of CHaD kids and families. Mark your calendars for the 2017 CHaD HERO: October 22, 2017.