Hike-a-Thon Raises Over $140,000
The Be Brave for Life Foundation raised more than $140,000 for brain tumor research at last weekend’s Hike-a-Thon, Basket Bonanza and Silent Auction at Merck Forest and Farm Center. Some 95 teams, made up of roughly 600 people, participated in the four-hour event, which included a scavenger hunt, live concert and awards ceremony.
Riley Callen, 14, started Be Brave for Life in 2015 while in a hospital recovery room, following her third craniotomy to remove brainstem tumors. She wants to help find a cure – not just for herself, but for everyone with similar diagnoses. The Hike-a-thon this past weekend is just one of the many ways the foundation is working to raise brain tumor awareness and funds for research. At the Hike-a-Thon, the foundation launched its newest initiative called ‘Brave for Life,’ to recognize and honor everyday heroes. When Laura Callen, Riley’s mom, was asked what bravery means to her, she said, “Bravery is the hand squeeze that Riley gives me before each surgery, because she doesn’t want me to be afraid.” It is Riley’s bravery that inspires so many people to support Be Brave for Life and to confront his or her own challenges with perspective and positivity. The Brave for Life initiative creates a way to nominate worthy individuals at bebrave.life. The foundation will spotlight select individuals throughout the year and two of them will be awarded a $1,000 grant for the charity of their choice. This year’s winners were Bill Muench from Burr and Burton Academy and Dr. Edward Smith from Boston Children’s Hospital. You can go to the website to read about them.
The foundation also started an Ambassador Program this summer for southern Vermont middle and high schools. Courageous students are chosen to represent their schools as ambassadors of Be Brave. One of their first challenges was to take part in a multi-school fundraising competition, culminating with the Hike-a-Thon. Be Brave for Life Ambassadors will continue to participate in leadership and stewardship activities throughout the school year.