Run for Hope allows kids to be normal

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – Anything from acne to an accent can make kids feel like outsiders.
Add in the frequent monitoring and medicating that Type I diabetes often requires or the sometimes debilitating results of cancer treatment, and fitting in with other youths becomes nearly impossible.
Each year since 1976, Camp Hopewell has hosted week-long sessions tailored for youths with Type 1 diabetes and another for families dealing with cancer. The sessions provide days of fun, new and renewed friendships and even extra information about their disease, but perhaps their biggest gift is the chance for such kids not to be different.
The best thing is “just knowing there are other kids like you, and they know what you’re going through,” said Claudia Bounds, a 13-year-old at last June’s diabetes camp. “When you’re checking your blood sugar, they understand. You get to do things that normal kids will do.”
The Run for Hope was created as a way to raise funds for a permanent endowment for the special sessions so no child would be turned away due to inability to pay.
“In our economy today, when parents are looking at either sending a kid to camp or paying utilities, it doesn’t take long to figure out which one is going to win that one,” said Lynn Sloan, one of the run’s founders and organizers.
In its February 2010 inaugural, the Run for Hope drew nearly 650 runners from as far as Arizona and Pennsylvania and raised more than $40,000 for the endowment. Registrations for the Feb. 26 run, available at www.oxfordrun4hope.com, are ahead of the first event’s pace.
“Historically, if your first event is good, then the second year you can anticipate going up by 50 to 100 percent,” Sloan said. “We have capped the race at 1,200. We don’t want to overwhelm the city.”
Several corporate sponsors have also joined the effort, giving both cash for the endowment and gifts for runners.
“Donations go straight to the endowment fund,” Sloan said. “No one is paying for this event; this event pays for itself.”
Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or errol.castens@djournal.com.

Run for Hope
Registration is already in full swing for the second Run for Hope, scheduled for Feb. 26. For more information, visit www.oxford4runforhope.com. To donate, visit www.camphopewell.com.