Hope Starts Here Challenge

MARQUETTE – The Upper Michigan Brain Tumor Center and UP Health System will host the 11th annual River Valley Bank Hope Starts Here Challenge on Saturday, an event that involves competitive runs and a non-competitive walk.

The event is in recognition of Brain Tumor Awareness Month. Proceeds will support awareness of the Upper Michigan Brain Tumor Center, a collaborative effort between UP Health System and Northern Michigan University.

Dr. Sonia Geschwindt, a neurosurgeon who in July joined the UP Health System Brain and Spine Team and is involved with the UMBTC, had this to say about the event:

“The Hope Starts Here Challenge is the main yearly fundraising event for our Upper Michigan Brain Tumor Center,” Geschwindt said in an email. “We are purely locally funded by generous charitable donations and this event. Our mission to is to empower patients and families through advocacy, education, treatment and research.”

The proceedings, she said, fund the students’ research and equipment for the following year, including “chemo-care baskets” for patients and other community outreach programs.

NMU students were on hand at River Valley Bank in Marquette on April 25 to put together the chemo-care baskets for chemotherapy patients at the Upper Peninsula Brain Tumor Center. Those baskets included items like Lifesavers candy, water bottles, hats, fuzzy socks, lip balm and lotion.

Part of the funding for those baskets came from the Lake Superior Health Foundation.

“The more people attend, the better we do at communicating awareness of brain cancer and maximize our resources to continue our work the following year,” Geschwindt said of the Hope Starts Here Challenge.

According to a UP Health System news release, the UPMTC’s mission is:

– to provide patients with access to the latest clinical treatments;

– to use basic research to guide and improve clinical care;

– to improve quality of life for patients and caregivers;

– and to raise awareness in the community.

Several UMBTC students have gone on to pursue health care or medical careers, including medical and dental schools, biomedical/biological employment and Ph.D. programs.

As outlined on the Hope Starts Here website:

– The competitive half marathon will head south along Lake Superior through Marquette and to the Carp River. After turning around, the course heads north past Lakeview Arena to Presque Isle Park. After going around the park, the course will head south again to the Pine Street triangle where it will make a right turn on the multi-use path to return runners to the finish at Lakeview Arena. Overall male and female and age group winner awards will be given.

– The competitive duathlon will consist of a 5K run, 10-mile trail bike and 5K run. Awards for top overall individuals and teams and age group winners will be given. A bike course is available at www.hopestartshere.org. The course for the 5K runs will take runners to Lakeshore Boulevard and then north toward Presque Isle Park, with the turnaround at the Dead River. The course then will head south to the Pine Street triangle where it will make a right turn on the multi-use path to return runners to the finish at Lakeview Arena. Transition and finish will be inside the arena.

– The competitive 10K run will take runners to Lakeshore Boulevard and then north toward Presque Isle Park. After running around the park, participants will be directed south to the Pine Street triangle where they will make a right turn to the finish at Lakeview Arena. Awards for the top overall finishers and age group winners will be given.

– The competitive 5K run has the same course as the duathlon, with awards for top overall finishers and age group winners also to be handed out.

– The non-competitive leisure walk will head west on the sidewalk of Fair Avenue toward NMU. A police officer will be available to stop traffic on Presque Isle Avenue. Walkers may continue for a short loop through the campus.

To register, visit www.hopestartshere.org.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.