Hope Express 2013: Call for Runners!
At this time seven years ago, I was trying to put together what was—at that point—nothing more than a pipe dream. My lovely bride Connie and I were determined to make this dream a reality. We had no idea what we were doing at the time and could never envision what it has become today. There have been many surprises along those 135 miles and we are proud to say that every single runner who has run with us we now consider to be a part of our family.
What we do may only last for 24 hours, but the memories last a lifetime. There are plenty of stories to tell, but I will save those for later. What struck us the most very early on was how all of you so desperately wanted to be involved with THON again in a meaningful way. Honestly, all we wanted to do was to “pay it forward,” and pay it back for all that you did to help us after our son Gabriel was diagnosed with Leukemia.
Purely by accident, we came upon a magic formula that could help us, help THON, and help all of you to become involved again. Whenever we could we tried to mirror what THON does every year. I am not a believer in recreating the wheel. It has been a winning team of runners, moralers, and volunteers that have transformed an idea into something beautiful. Every year I have to pinch myself, because none of it seems real, nor can I believe that Connie and I started all of this, but it is all of you that deserve the credit. Without the undying support of all of you this would have never happened.
Now, we need at least fourteen crazy people who think that running at night in the middle of winter—on roads they have never traveled, with a bunch of people they never met—is a good idea. I told you this was crazy! You can go to our website at www.thehopeexpress.org and click on event information and you will find a drop-down menu that includes “become a runner.” Complete this form, and you'll be one step closer to becoming a part of HE 2013. We will accept applications up until 11:59 pm on Sept 30th.
We will review all of the applications in detail. Take this process seriously, because trust me, we do. After we have received your application we will conduct a phone interview with you. It is about five questions, through which we try to get to know you better. In the first week of October we will announce who will be the finalists. At that point the finalists will fundraise for a month, all vying for a spot on the team.
In the first week of November, the selection committee will meet. The committee is a group of people who are Four Diamonds Family members. We review your applications, your phone interview, and your fundraising to determine who will be on the team. It is a very long night. I felt that it was very important that those people who you helped be the ones to determine whether you made the team or not. Trust me when I tell you that it is more like torture. We wish you could all run, but it simply is not possible.
Shortly after this meeting we will announce the team and four alternates. For those of you picked as alternates, you are a part of the team as well. Every year we have used at least one alternate. Alternates will not make the trip to Penn State unless someone drops out, but they are invited to “runner’s weekend.”
We are hoping to make this the best year yet. I cannot wait to see those applications coming across my desk. Good luck to all of you, and I will be meeting some of you soon.
Co-Founder Hope Express
135 miles in 24 hours FTK
PS If you don't want to run but still want to be a part of the magic FTK, volunteer to be a moraler and help us to get ready for the big weekend. Keep an eye out for more details coming soon! Feel free to reach out to Jessica Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions regarding running or moraling in the mean time.