Annual event raises more than $6,200 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

  • Published
  • By SSgt Sherree Grebenstein
  • 167AW
Airmen and their loved ones raised more than $6,200 recently for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital during an annual benefit held at the West Virginia Air National Guard's 167th Airlift Wing.
Participants racked up over 131 miles during the 7th annual St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Bike, Run, Trike and Walk-a-Thon. Bikers, runners and walkers tackled a three mile course around the air base March 27. A separate course was designed for the young trikers who participated in the fundraiser's inaugural event.
"We had four trikers for the first time this year and 22 bikers, runners and walkers. This was our best year to date!" said Senior Master Sgt. Ron Glazer, who has organized the local event for the past seven years.
Glazer originally became involved in the fundraising effort for St. Jude in 2004 when his church, Gateway Brethren Fellowship in Hagerstown, was contacted about whether it was interested in holding an event in the area.
During the first event group members raised $1,000. Last year $5,100 was netted for the effort. Over the years the number of fundraiser participants has grown steadily with a record amount of money being raised this year.
Glazer said he is grateful and humbled by the support that Airmen and their families have given toward making the Biken Run, Trike and Walk-a-Thon such a success. He is also impressed that little ones wanted to try and make a difference in the fundraising efforts too.
Staff Sgt. Julie Lozinski spearheaded the Trike-A-Thon portion of the fundraiser after watching Nick Jr. with her two daughters, ages 9 months and 3. Dora the Explorer is a spokesperson for the fundraising program.
The four trikers who participated this year ranged in ages between two to five and appeared to be having fun as they were given stickers for every lap they completed on a course designed especially for their little legs. In between laps the wee ones took breaks in their pedaling to snack on treats and color in books handed out specifically for the occasion.
Lozinski said she was pleased with the first year of the Trike-A-Thon and eager to add more to it next year. The little foursome managed to raise $400 for the hospital.
"It's nice to be able to come out and raise money for a good cause and spend time together as a family," said Capt. Randy Wright, whose daughter, Sadie, and son, Sawyer, pedaled for the cause.
Wright's wife, Desiree, was impressed that the fundraiser could be geared toward involving even the youngest members of the 167th Airlift Wing's extended family.
"I think it's awesome to get them involved in the effort to help other kids," she said.
Glazer said there are currently 14 children from the Mountain State being treated at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
According to its Web site, the internationally-renowned hospital has garnered a reputation for "its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. St. Jude is the first and only pediatric cancer center to be designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute."
Tech Sgt. Mike Leonard ran 10 miles last year and was up to the challenge again.
"It's for a good cause and I get a great workout," Leonard said before setting out on the course.
Staff Sgt. Becky Reaves also participated for the second time this year in the event and hoped to best last year's run of 15 miles.
"I hope to do 16 to 17 miles this year," she said. "I love this stuff."