Worthy causes moving outdoors

Sue Guinn Legg • Apr 5, 2012 at 8:52 AM

It’s a great time of year to be outdoors, and runners and walkers have the opportunity to share the beauty of the next three weekends with three very worthy causes.

Run the Gump, the annual benefit 5K and fun walk for the Rise Up! after school and mentoring program for at-risk children, is set for Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m. at Civitan Park. Proceeds from the event are used to cover the cost of a variety of popular summer camps for young participants to the Rise Up! program who otherwise would never get to go to camp.

The road race entry fee is $25 and the fun walk is free. Registration forms are available online at www.boys-to-men.org. T-shirts are guaranteed for everyone who completes their registration today. Cash prizes and medals will be awarded to top male and female finishers.

Run the Gump day at the park also will include a Big Wheel Race for kids starting at 10 a.m. (the entry fee is $5 or free for any racer who brings their own Big Wheel), an Easter egg hunt at 10:30 and inflatable attractions for kids.

On April 14, East Tennessee honor students will host a benefit 5K race for Good Samaritan Ministries. Registration will open at 8 a.m. and the road race will start at 9 at the Summers-Taylor Soccer Complex on the East Tennessee State University campus. The entry fee $10. More information about the race may be obtained by emailing Jane Underdown at [email protected]

The annual Jacob Francisco Century Ride and Awareness Walk to support the ETSU medical school’s memorial Jacob Francisco Lectureship to update local health care providers on the latest in E. coli treatment will be held April 21, in conjunction with the international observance of Earth Day.

Proceeds from the ride also will go toward development of an environmental education park at Sinking Creek in Johnson City. The memorial ride includes a “quarter century” (25-mile) route and a metric century (100K) route that follows Cherokee Road from ETSU to the Nolichucky River and back through Jonesborough. Also, there is a non-competitive awareness walk along the new walking trail on State of Franklin Road from ETSU to the downtown historic district. The event will begin at 9 a.m. in the parking lot behind Knight’s Food and Sports, located adjacent to the university at 701 W. State of Franklin Road.

The ride’s early registration fee is $30, or $40 on the morning of the event. The walk entry fee is $10. Event T-shirts will be available for the first 100 participants to register and door prizes will be awarded. Registration forms are available at area bicycle shops and online at www.jacobfrancisco.com, or may be obtained by calling Bill Francisco at 794-0794 or emailing [email protected]

If you missed Sunday’s Johnson City Press, you missed an inspiring story shared by a young area man who is fighting to overcome a 2005 spinal cord injury that left him with incomplete quadriplegia.

Daniel Leonard just returned from stem cell treatment in Panama and has set out on a six-month course of intense physical therapy and training to maximize the results. He’s already experiencing gains in sensation and muscle control that may appear small to the observer but are huge for a 28-year-old who is doing all he can to rise from his wheelchair.

I spoke with Daniel this week and learned he has also made some small but exciting progress in fundraising for his next trip to Panama for a second round of stem cell treatment. A Johnson City car dealership known for its work with a variety of charitable causes is interested in sponsoring an upcoming three-on-three basketball tournament at the Lifestyles Fitness Center in Johnson City, where Daniel spends four hours each week in intense interval training.

A prize and date for the tournament are still in discussion and further details ae pending.

In the meantime, donations to the Daniel Leonard Search for a Cure Fund to help with the $25,000 cost of his second course of stem cell injections may be made online at www.giveforward.com/danielleonardstemcells or at any First Tennessee Bank location.

Daniel’s “This is How I Roll, Search for a Cure” blog, which includes the full story of his injury and fight for recovery, including his treatment in Panama, can be followed at danielleonard.weebly.com. More information can also be obtained by calling Daniel’s mother, Diane Leonard, at 794-0289.

If there is a need or a project in your neighborhood the Good Neighbor column can assist with, email Sue Guinn Legg at [email protected], write to P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605 1717 or call 929-3111, ext. 335.

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