For the sixth year in a row, University of Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletics hosted the HopeDay Festival today on the Bierman Track. Thousands were in attendance to help members of the families associated with the HopeKids organization.
All 25 sports were represented throughout the day. Members from each team came out to interact with the kids and assist in activities such as tye-dyeing, throwing water balloons, climbing a rock wall, and playing catch with the football team at TCF Bank Stadium. Along with student-athletes participating in events, pony rides, a BMX bike show, tap-dancing and face painters were just some of the other activities that will also be available for HopeKids families.
Under the guidance of the Life Skills Office and Anissa Lightner, a volunteer committee of student-athletes from all sports was in charge of working with the HopeKids organization to coordinate 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 has recently branched out to chapters in Minneapolis/St. Paul in November of 2006 and Salt Lake City, Utah in September of 2008. The Minneapolis/St. Paul chapter serves in excess of 700 HopeKids and their 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. The majority 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.