“Race For A Reason” Lets Participants Choose Their Charity

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By Carey Goodman

Almost ten years ago a group of Ohio University sports administration graduate students were challenged to give back. What began as a simple 5k fundraising run, has transformed into the largest charity-based race event in southeast Ohio, and on April 26, 2014 the OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital Race for a Reason is looking to cross the finish line meeting their greatest fundraising goal so far of $100,000 in Athens, Ohio.

Race for a Reason’s unique idea of allowing each participant to choose their “Reason” to race has brought a tremendous amount of support and growth for the event. The event held in 2013 had over 850 participants, raised over $73,000 for more than 40 different local and national charities, and was the most successful Race for a Reason to date. 

American Veterans has lent its support and created the newest race of the event, the AMVETS 3k Walk. This event was added over the past summer with the support of AMVETS National Development Director Mike Fisher to help Race for a Reason raise the $100,000 for over 50 different “reasons,” and attract over 1,000 participants from the community and university. The AMVETS organization has been a steadfast supporter of the O’Bleness Health System Race for a Reason event, raising over $22,000 last year. All of their fundraising efforts went to the AMVETS Diabetes Institute at Ohio University. 

“AMVETS has supported the AMVETS Diabetes Research Center at Ohio University with over $200,000 in donations since 1994,” Fisher said. “Diabetes affects over 25 percent of the veteran population and we need to find a cure. Our healthcare partner, HUMANA, has stepped up and is supporting this initiative through HUMANA Veterans by donating time and money to make this charity walk a reality.”

Last year AMVETS participated on the national and local level through Post 76 in Athens, Ohio. Past Ohio State Commander Jim Graham has been building a relationship between AMVETS and Ohio University over the past decade and adding the AMVETS Diabetes walk is a natural expansion to the relationship.

”We decided to add the AMVETS Diabetes Walk after seeing the out pouring of support for various charities,” Graham said. “I believe this will greatly benefit both AMVETS and Ohio University. AMVETS is excited about building an annual tradition around the Diabetes Walk and with Humana’s help in expanding the fund raising efforts we will come one step closer to ending diabetes.”

AMVETS National Ladies Auxiliary and their dedication to ensure our veterans’ needs are met have led them to consistently find creative ways to raise money. Excitement around the AMVETS 3K Walk this year will be greater than originally planned due to their efforts.  

In August, Linda McGriff was elected AMVETS National Ladies Auxiliary President for 2013-2014. McGriff has been a member of the Ladies Auxiliary for over 23 years and her motto for this year is, “Make A Difference.” AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary plans to make that difference by focusing the National President’s Project on the AMVETS Diabetes Research Institute at Ohio University. A full 100 percent of all donations received will go to the training of students in diabetes research.

“I am the wife of a diabetic,” AMVETS National Ladies Auxiliary President Linda McGriff said. “I know the toll that it takes on a person’s body, and I want to make sure we raise as much funds as possible to fight back. We need to put a dent in the diabetes disease research and we will help in any way we can to accomplish that.”

McGriff plans to hold their organization’s national event at the OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital Race for a Reason event in April, and the substantial Auxiliary membership base in Ohio has brought a large amount of enthusiasm to it.  Approximately 30 percent of the AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary members are in Ohio, which bodes well for participation numbers in the 3K Walk.

“Having a majority of our membership in easy traveling distance for the race should bring great success for the AMVETS 3k Walk,” McGriff said. “I am so very excited about Race for a Reason and I could not be more pleased about being able to raise funds for such an important cause like the AMVETS Diabetes Institute at Ohio University.”

To take part in, or learn more about the OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital Race for a Reason and the 2014 AMVETS Diabetes 3k Walk visit http://ouraceforareason.com/registration/. If you can’t attend and would like to donate please do so at www.amvets.org.