CHaD Hero event raises over three-quarters of a million dollars

by Emily Zhang | 10/24/19 2:15am

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The CHaD Hero event raised $790,000 to support the Children's Hospital at DHMC.

by Peter Charalambous / The Dartmouth Senior Staff

Last Sunday, over 3,000 people participated in the 15th annual Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hero fundraiser. The event has raised $790,000 thus far, which roughly equals the amount of money raised at last year’s event. The money raised supports the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. 

Apart from a half marathon and a competitive 5K run, events also included a one-mile Fun Run, a five-kilometer walk, a five-mile wooded hike, a 25- or 50-mile bike ride and a family street party. 

“It originally started as a half marathon in the afternoon called Outrun the Sun in 2006,” said CHaD community relations manager Evan Seely. “Over the years, we have added more elements so that more people from different ages can participate.”

Over 500 volunteers, including around 300 Dartmouth students, supported the event. Seely said that event participants needed to both register before the event and meet a certain fundraising minimum in order to run, hike or bike. Dartmouth students, many of whom participated in teams comprised of Greek houses, participated in the fundraising and events.

Saheer Mathrani ’20, this year’s top fundraiser, said he raised $52,671 from his friends and family for the event, describing his past experiences with pediatric illnesses that motivate him to participate in the fundraising.

“When I was in middle school, one of my good friends passed away because of pediatric cancer,” Mathrani said. “When I was older, one of my cousins had leukemia, then one of the kids I used to ski coach ended up being in a pretty bad accident and was treated by CHaD itself.”

Mathrani said that he was involved in CHaD Hero during his sophomore year as a member of Psi Upsilon fraternity. Since then, Mathrani has participated in the half-marathon and has been the top fundraiser every year. 

“Last year I was studying abroad at Scotland, so I ran the half marathon using my phone as a GPS,” Mathrani added.

Mathrani credited the Byrne Match program through The Jack & Dorothy Byrne Foundation — which facilitates a one-on-one match for dollars raised above their fundraising minimums for adult ChaD Hero participants ­— for his ability to fundraise so much money. 

“Some wealthy benefactors from the Hanover area ended up doubling the money in my account, which is very nice,” Mathrani said. 

Taylor Lane ’20, who ran the half marathon this year with her mother, said she enjoyed the conditions for the half marathon. 

“There was perfect running conditions and really great support throughout the course,” Lane said.

Lane recounted how she first learned about the CHaD Hero during her freshman year when she was on a morning run and noticed the course staging on the street. 

“So, I ran the 5K in my sophomore year, and it was awesome to see the whole Upper Valley community coming together to support these kids.”

Seely said that the money raised through the event will go to CHaD hospital services that are not covered by insurance or Medicaid. Some major programs include the child life program, which aims to minimize the psychological trauma of hospitalization among children at CHaD, and the Child Advocacy and Protection Program, which serves children who have been physically, emotionally or sexually abused. 

“Seeing how the organization is connecting health and wellness to raising money to the hospital is awesome,” Lane said. “It was really rewarding to talk to people about what this hospital means to the community and see people give back to the community in this way.” 

According to Hanover town manager Julia Griffin, the Hanover Police and Fire Departments were directly involved in the organization of the event to support traffic control, on-road safety and first-aid response. The Hanover Department of Public Works also assisted the event committee with logistics. Due to the on-street staging, Wheelock Street was closed from Crosby Street to South Main Street during the event.  

“We put out the electronic message board sign on Route 10 to alert people of the traffic impact on the day of the race,” Griffin said. “The weekend before the race, there was an insert to Valley News that showed people exactly what routes will be impacted.”

Griffin said that by bringing more people into town, the event benefited local merchants and restaurants with an increase in foot traffic. She added that the family-friendly programming brought the College and local communities closer together.

“It’s a great opportunity for the student community and the residents in the region to connect and support an organization that we appreciate because it is taking care of a lot of our kids over time,” Griffin added. 

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