September is childhood cancer awareness month, and for the fifth year the Mt. Hebron Student Government Association (SGA) will be selling Hebron for Hope T-shirts at all lunch shifts from Sept. 8 to Sept.11, as well as at the football game Friday night to benefit John’s Hopkins Children’s Cancer Research. However, Hebron for Hope is not the only way students are getting involved and helping battle childhood cancer.
This past Labor Day weekend, families, teens and runners alike gathered to Cypressmede Park on Sept. 7 to participate in the 6th annual “Run a 5K to Make a Kid’s Day” to Benefit Hope for Henry, an event organized by Mt. Hebron senior Hannah Arnold.
It all started six years ago when Arnold and her sister wanted to raise money to help their neighbor, Matthew Hoffman, the child who inspired the Hebron for Hope project. Each year the event has grown, with this being their second year working with the Hope for Henry foundation.
Founded in 2003, the Hope for Henry Foundation was created by parents Laurie Strongin and Allen Goldberg as a way to commemorate their son, who died of Fanconi anemia, a rare fatal disease. The foundation funds two Child Life Specialists, liaisons between the children’s hospitals and the charitable organization, which Arnold said, “is what I want to do when I’m older, so I found out about the foundation through that.”
“It is kids like Hannah that are going to be the next generation’s philanthropists,” Strongin said. “She’s not just talking about making a change, but she’s actually taking action.”
Praise like that is what has earned Arnold a spot on the Hope for Henry Teen Advisory Board. Being on the board is just one of many responsibilities Arnold has taken on. Organizing the race takes time and thorough planning.
“You have to get tons permits and insurance, coordinate volunteers, advertise the event, get sponsors and order supplies,” stated Arnold.
Arnold was able to get businesses like Sixty Seconds of Sunshine, a company that writes cards for people going through a tough time, to donate money. She was also able to get sponsors like Eye of the Needle to donate the shirts for runners and volunteers and the water bottles each person received at the race.
Many of the volunteers were Mt. Hebron students supporting their classmate. “It was really rewarding to volunteer because you know you’re helping little kids and supporting a good cause,” junior Liam Hall said.
“The turnout was really well, and it was really cool seeing everybody come out and support such a great cause,” added senior McKenna Bondura.
With not a rain cloud in sight, it is an understatement to say the race was a success. Arnold said, “It’s relieving to see it come together because you invest so much time into it. It feels good to see it all pay off.”
Because of students like Arnold, the Mt. Hebron tradition of fighting childhood cancer is sure to continue.