12th Annual CHaD HERO Raises $870,000 and Counting

CHaD Heroes gather on the Dartmouth College Green

Over 2,800 HEROES filled the Dartmouth Green on October 22 to support CHaD Kids. The 12th annual CHaD HERO, was a day filled with both celebration and remembrance. HEROES of all ages participated in the 5K walk or 1-mile family-fun run, the 5 or 7-mile hike, the 50 or 25 mile bike ride, the 5 K run or the half marathon. Spectators cheering on the racers also enjoyed a festive, family-centered event with food trucks, the Positive Tracks KidZone, and live entertainment in downtown Hanover.

To date, this important charity event has generated over $870,000, exceeding this year’s goal of $850,000 to support vital CHaD programs and services. In addition to our HERO participants, our thanks goes out to the 550 volunteers who supercharged this incredible autumn day.

The Smith Family
The Smith family of Concord, NH including dad Chris (left), mom Caitlin (center), Avery (right), and Colin (left).

“This is always one of the best days of the year, even when the weather isn’t as beautiful as it was today,” said Dr. Keith Loud, Physician-in-Chief at CHaD.  “I always leave with a bounce in my step, not only because of the funds raised to help us advance child health, but because of the incredible feeling of support from our community.”

A select group of young HEROES saw their fundraising boosted by the super powers of Positive Tracks.  This Hanover-based non-profit provided a youth challenge grant to encourage participants ages 23 and under to get active and give back. Those young racers generated over $50,000, which was ultimately doubled thanks to the match by Positive Tracks.

Team Sophie lined up for the 50-mile bike ride
Team Sophie lined up for the 50-mile bike ride, which is one of two cycling options for the CHaD HERO.

Team Sophie lined up for the 50-mile bike ride, which is one of two cycling options for the CHaD HERO.

The CHaD HERO was attended by many prominent members of the community including Dartmouth College’s Executive Vice President Rick Mills, who kicked off Cam’s Course and Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s President Dr. Joanne Conroy participated in the 5K walk and handed out awards to the event’s top finishers.

CHaD’s small and mighty heroes were also prominent. Shannon Watson of Proctor, Vermont represented “Kid HERO” and took on the ceremonial responsibility of kicking off the 5 and 7 mile hikes, as well as the 5K walk. Despite recent health challenges related to cystic fibrosis, she also participated in the 5K walk with her mother. In addition, last year’s Kid HERO, Jasper Vincent, returned as Captain America to once again tackle Cam’s Course. Jasper was joined by his younger sister, Evelyn, older brother, Jesse, and his parents. Through Jasper’s dedicated fundraising, he was CHaD’s largest youth fundraiser under the age of 16. Another tiny HERO that gleamed on Sunday was 4-year-old Avery of Concord. Avery has been battling B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia since this past spring and has kept her spirits high with the help of the child life specialists at CHaD. Avery’s entire family participated in the HERO to support Avery’s battle to beat cancer.  

Cam Marshall of Lyme, NH was back again this year to kick off his namesake course, the 1-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. Alongside that effort, the non-profit Positive Tracks developed. Positive Tracks, a longtime underwriter of the HERO, matches youth fundraising dollars. Their mission is to help young people get active and give back using the power of sport. This year Cam celebrated being 6 years cancer-free. 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.  

CHaD half marathon finishers
Half marathon top finishers pictured with Volunteer Race Director, Jeff Hastings (center). Scott Shaw of Norfolk, CT (left) was the top male finisher and the top female finisher was Andie von Eschen (right) of Mill Valley, CA.

Scott Shaw of Norfolk, CT was the top finisher in the CHaD HERO Half Marathon with a time of 1:16:58.  The top female finisher was Andie von Eschen of Mill Valley, CA, crossing the finish line on the Green at 1:30:19. On the 5K course, Evan Wetzel of Waukesha, WI, an accomplished rower for the Dartmouth College team, finished in 17:06 as the top male finisher, while Caroline Pennacchi of Briarcliff Manor, NY took home first place for the females at 18:39.

Sincere gratitude goes out from everyone on the CHaD Community Relations team, who annually executes this event.

“It was a record-breaking event and we’re extremely grateful to our dedicated community partners, amazing volunteers, and heroic participants who come together each year to make a positive impact in the lives of CHaD kids.” – Amy Keeler, Community Relations Manager