Hope in Motion organizers named two new co-chairmen for the run portion of its signature event, the Walk, Run & Ride. Liz Herbert, of Darien, and Debbie Heelan, of Bethel, will assist in planning and executing the run, helping to arrange everything including sponsorships, course improvements and the recruitment of runners. Hope in Motion is the year-round initiative that raises funds to benefit Stamford Hospital's Bennett Cancer Center, its patients and their families.
Herbert has had knowledge of the event for years. She learned of the event through her husband, an attending physician at Stamford Hospital, and, being an avid runner, decided to participate in the run for the first time two years ago. Herbert has participated in several 5K, 10K and half-marathon races, as well as the Boston, Chicago and New York City marathons. She is a member of two running clubs, Waveny Running Club in New Canaan and the Westchester Track Club. This year she has formed her own Hope in Motion team, Liz's Legs for Life, and plans to recruit fellow competitive runners to fundraise and participate.
Also an experienced runner, Heelan's running career began in high school and includes the Bronx 10-mile race and the MORE/Fitness Magazine and Brooklyn half-marathons. She was also a regular runner with the Woodbridge Running Group out of Brookfield, and Milford Road Runners until she suffered a pelvic stress fracture last September. Heelan has since taken up swimming and spinning to stay in shape and hopes to participate in this year's run come June. Heelan originally found out about Hope in Motion through her previous employer, the Walk, Run & Ride's founding sponsor, the Ashforth Co., where she was a graphic designer.
"I originally wanted to get involved with the Bennett Cancer Center because I admired the high level of care my husband's referred patients were receiving there," Herbert said. "The Center for Disease Control and Prevention lists cancer as the leading cause of death for women age 35 to 44, which is my age group. That really hits home. We are very fortunate to have access to such an acclaimed cancer center; it's a huge benefit of living here."
Both women said they look forward to lending their expertise to the cause. Among their goals as co-chairmen, Heelan and Herbert hope to enhance the run to attract more competitive and recreational runners who are passionate about fundraising for the center's patients and their families.
"Two runners who will participate on my team are cancer survivors," Heelan said. "Cancer has affected too many people. Participating in this event and knowing you're running for a great cause just makes the whole experience more fulfilling and adds meaning to the effort."
Stamford Hospital's Bennett Cancer Center's 19th annual Hope in Motion, Walk, Run & Ride will take place Sunday, June 2, in downtown Stamford's Columbus Park. For more information, visit www.hope-in-motion.org.