Special Events Stories & Photos
MN PHun Walk for a Cure
The First Annual MN PHun Walk for a Cure was a GREAT yet WET event. Mid-August, which normally brings a warm sunny day to Minnesota, instead brought a cold, cloudy, rainy day. We are fairly certain this was caused by the arrival of Rino “The Rainman” Aldrighetti into the Twin Cities area!! This First Annual PHundraiser was a great success bringing in over $29,000.00 to be used for patient advocacy and a search for a cure.
Planning for the PHun Walk started in February of 2007, writing grants and contacting corporate sponsors to help fund the Walk. On second thought, it actually started when the wonderful ladies from Accredo stood outside in the wee hours of the morning of a cold January day in our Minnesota winter waiting to secure a date at the Battle Creek Regional Park office. You see, this park is so popular for events, you must reserve the park the first week in January each year to secure the date you want (thank you ladies!!!!) We would like to thank all the sponsors who not only helped fund the Walk, but also spent much of their time volunteering their services and making the Walk such a success. These sponsors are: Actelion, Accredo, Encysive, General Mills, Gilead, Isanti Lions, Park Nicollet Heart & Vascular Center, Pharmacare, PostNet and United Therapeutics.
Volunteers were up and at’em early and started to arrive at the park at 7 AM. Caribou Coffee donated morning java to keep us awake and set up for the crowd of over 250 participants. Donuts and other treats were brought by other volunteers to make sure we were energized for the task ahead of us.
The PHun Walk consisted of a day at the Battle Creek Regional Park in Maplewood, MN. The rain seemed like it was going to hold off maybe for the day, until approximately 15 minutes before our scheduled start time of 10 AM, then it started pouring. This did not hold off the hardy Minnesota participants, after a short wait of 15 minutes, the parade of umbrellas began. The parade was lead by Arlene Gabbert in her specially decorated “Driving for a Cure” scooter. Arlene is the longest known survivor of Pulmonary Hypertension. It is simply amazing how many people participated in the approximate one mile walk, in spite of the rain. The wind blew the directional signs down for the marked course so some people may have walked a shorter distance than others. (These are little oopsies that will be worked out for next year.)
During Check-in at the event, participants were surprised at the amount of free gifts they received. A gift back-pack provided by Accredo was filled with goodies from all of our corporate sponsors and other companies. Any more donated gifts and they would not have fit in the back-pack. Each participant also received a t-shirt for participating.
Since the rain was not about to stop, we stepped up the schedule for the day. Rino Aldrighetti and Dr. Michael McGoon both spoke to the crowd about PHA and Pulmonary Hypertension. We are very honored they participated in the Walk along with many other well known doctors, nurses, and health care providers in the area.
Lunch was served at approximately 11:30 and was catered by D'Gidio's of St. Paul, MN. It was a great warm feast of Italian Cuisine that warmed the bellies of the cold participants. Following lunch was the start of the raffle drawings. There were a total of 45 different items donated for our raffle, from rounds of golf, to a video I-Pod, to pre-season Vikings tickets and even a compound miter saw. We also had a silent auction with many fun donated gifts.
There were small carnival games set up for the kids with prizes and a table of coloring books and crayons to keep them occupied. The kids forgot it was cold when they were having such fun playing!! Tarot card readings were offered by Madame Tess and her pooch Gus with a free will offering. Many people enjoyed their readings for the day. Arlene Gabbert sold beautiful beaded bracelets she made with all of her proceeds going to PHA as well as Eleanor Aune, selling her cookbook with a percentage of her proceeds also going to PHA. In the rush of getting people back to their warm cozy homes, we forgot to have our wheelchair/scooter parade. Four folks decorated their wheelchairs and scooters for the Walk. We would like to thank them for participating. We will definitely make sure everybody enjoys this parade next year.
This year PHA made it possible to build online fundraising pages with the use of firstgiving.com which not only allowed people to request donations from people online using their e-mail, but also allowed people to use their credit cards to make donations for our cause. Amazingly 10 people participating in the PHun walk created their own fundraising page and those 10 pages alone raised almost $13,000.00. WOW!!!!! We hope to encourage more of our participants to use this great resource for next years PHun Walk.
Planning for the 2nd Annual MN PHun Walk for a Cure is already in the works. We hope to bring in even more money for our cause next year!!!!