River Valley Bank initiative a positive community effort

We are hoping a record number of people participate in Saturday’s River Valley Bank Hope Starts Here Challenge, an event that supports brain tumor research and raises awareness.

Now in its 14th year, the event shows support for those impacted by brain tumors by raising funds for the Upper Michigan Brain Tumor Center.

Funds are raised through a wide variety of competitive and leisurely events including a half-marathon, an individual or team duathlon, a 10K run, a 5K run, a leisure walk, or a 1-mile kids’ run for those 10 and under.

“The whole focus of the event is really community awareness of brain tumors and support for families who have been impacted by family members or friends who have brain tumors,” said Robert Winn of NMU and UMBTC in a Mining Journal story by Staff Writer Cecilia Brown.

Saturday’s challenge proceeds benefit the Upper Michigan Brain Tumor Center, a collaboration between Northern Michigan University and UP Health System-Marquette which brings clinicians, researchers and NMU students together to advance treatment, research, education and advocacy for people who are impacted by brain tumors, organizers said.

Through the years, the Hope Starts Here Challenge has been a way for hundreds of people to come out to show support for patients with brain tumors and UMBTC’s activities, organizers said.

“It’s our biggest fundraiser, but aside from that, it is really about community and a lot of the same participants come back, year after year,” UMBTC Lab Director Amber LaCrosse said in the story, adding that the challenge is “a little bit more than just a fundraiser, it definitely becomes more like a family and community support event.”

River Valley Bank has been involved in supporting the challenge for several years and has been the event’s title sponsor since 2014, as the staff believes in “giving back to the community that we’re in,” said Ashley Cody, vice president Marquette market manager for River Valley Bank.

“This is one of the events that really brings a lot of people together in the community together for a great cause as the hospital and the university continue to work together for brain tumor research,” she said.

Organizers of the challenge encourage attendees to attend the 11 a.m. lunch and awards ceremony Saturday at Lakeview Arena, which will recognize winners of the competitive events, as well as volunteers. All events will begin and end Saturday at Lakeview Arena, located at at 401 E. Fair Ave., Marquette.

The half marathon starts at 8 a.m., the duathlon at 8:30 a.m., the kids’ run at 9:15 a.m., the leisure walk at 9:45 a.m., the 10K at 10 a.m. and the 5K at 10:15 a.m.

Online registration is available through tonight at www.nmu.edu/ umbtc/registration. Packet pick-up will be Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m at Lakeview Arena.

In-person registration is also available during Friday’s packet pick-up and from 7 to 10 a.m. Saturday, with half-marathon registration ending at 7:45 a.m.

All competitive events will have chip timing. A complimentary Subway lunch after the event will be provided with each paid registration at the awards ceremony and lunch at Lakeview Arena.

Those who aren’t able to participate in the running, walking or biking events but are interested in attending the awards ceremony and lunch may purchase a lunch for $5.

Or if you’re unable to participate in the challenge itself Saturday but would like to contribute to show support, tax-deductible donations and mile markers are available.

For more information on donations and sponsorship, visit www.nmu.edu/umbtc/sponsorship.

For more information, including a full description of each event and course, along with maps, visit https://www.nmu. edu/umbtc/about-event.