Gopher Athletics Hosts Seventh-Annual HopeDay Festival

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Sep 8, 2013

The University of Minnesota athletics department, in conjunction with Allianz and the HopeKids organization, hosted the seventh-annual HopeDay Festival on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, at the Bierman Field Athletic Complex. Over 200 families joined in the festivities, located on the Bierman track, parking lot and the Jane Sage Cowles softball complex.

As the student-athletes gathered in the Bierman indoor football complex, the group kicked off the day as director of athletics Norwood Teague welcome the group to another academic and athletic season. Once lunch was provided, the student-athletes flitered out to their assigned stations. The event was designed specifically for the Golden Gopher family and members of the HopeKids organization.

The festival included sporting clinics from a majority of the Gopher sports, including a dunk tank by the swim teams, obstacle courses, a basket and freethrow contest by the basketball teams and a shootout clinic by men's hockey. Along with student-athletes participating in events, pony rides, petting zoo, rock-climbing wall, face painters and a tie-dye t-shirt station were just some of the other activities also available.

The Gopher athletics and HopeKids has had a longstanding relationship over the eight years. Every year, the event continues to grow and gets bigger and better every year in its existence. Along with current student-athletes, Minnesota also welcomed 18 alums that joined the event.

HopeKids is an organization which gives hope to children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses and their families, via a program of ongoing, highly anticipated events with the message that hope is a powerful medicine. Founded in September 2001 by Robert R. Cottrell in Phoenix, Ariz., it branched out to chapters in Minneapolis/St. Paul (November 2006) and Salt Lake City (September 2008). The Phoenix chapter serves more than 500 HopeKids and their families, while the Minneapolis/St. Paul chapter serves in excess of 550 HopeKids and their families. Salt Lake City has grown to serve 200 families.

A large percentage of the children in the program have already had their one large wish from one of the various wish granting organizations, but their battle continues. A large percentage of HopeKids have cancer, however, the program also serves children with any life-threatening illnesses such as kidney disease, heart disease, sickle cell, mitochondrial and cystic fibrosis. HopeKids is for children between the ages of 0 to 18. For more information visit www.hopekids.org.

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