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 lots and the Jane Sage Cowles softball stadium.
As the student-athletes gathered in the Bronko Nagurski indoor football complex, the group kicked off the day as Director of Athletics Norwood Teague welcomed the group to another academic season. Once lunch was provided, the student-athletes filtered 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 (swim teams), obstacle courses (track & field, wrestling, baseball and softball), a basket and free throw contest (basketball teams) and a shootout clinic (men's hockey). Pony rides, a petting zoo, rock-climbing wall, face painting and a tie-dye t-shirt station were just some of the other activities also available.
Gopher Athletics and HopeKids has had a longstanding relationship over the past eight years and since then, designated a full day of activities in 2005. Every year, the event continues to grow bigger and better every year since 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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