Walk Ahead is Largest Single-Day Event in UCNI History

People walk on a bridge

Mary Wahl, front left, and her daughter, Siena Kennedy, cross the Purple People Bridge with members of Tim’s Team. Photo by Mark Bowen.

They came singly, in pairs, and in teams like Holly’s Heroes, Curing with Collin, and Devoted to Darlene. They came with hope and faith, with canes and walkers and wheelchairs. They brought memories.

Together, more than 1,600 strong, they walked like one big family, putting their effort and dollars toward a mission to eradicate those brain tumors that continue to defy a cure. They sent a message of determination, even defiance, as they made Walk Ahead the largest single-day event in the 11-year history of the University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute.

Lou’s No-Mo-Glio Crew carried on in honor of Dr. Donald Louis Kennedy, a beloved cardiologist who had planned to walk but lost his battle with glioblastoma multiforme on Sept. 30.

Melissa’s Magnificent 43 went over the top, passing the $10,000 threshold in funds raised, and Tim’s Team came out in force only a few months after Tim’s diagnosis.

Karen Harmon, a director at dunnhumbyUSA who is being treated for an oligodenroglima, got a surprise when her team of co-workers, 40-plus strong, was joined by Stuart Aitken, CEO, Simon Hay, the former CEO who now heads up operations in the United Kingdom, and Co-founder and Chief Executive Edwina Dunn, who flew in from London.

“The dunnhumby culture is like family,” said John Sandman, a company director. “It is an element of our core values, which are things like collaboration, curiosity and passion. The people I work with are as close as a family.”

“We try to live up to our responsibilities,” added Mr. Hay. “When something matters to our people, it matters to us.”

Proceeds from the event, which benefit research and education at the UC Brain Tumor Center, are still being tabulated. Ronald Warnick, MD, Director of the Center, announced that proceeds would ensure that anyone wishing to attend the annual Midwest Regional Brain Tumor Conference, to be held Oct. 8, 2011, could do so at no charge. The 2011 Walk Ahead will be held on Oct. 9.

“We extend our heartfelt thanks to all who supported the event, whether by walking, running, volunteering or making a donation, large or small,” Dr. Warnick said. “The community’s support will strengthen ground-breaking research underway in Cincinnati, which enhances the potential for novel interventions that lead us toward a cure.”

“The Walk demonstrated how positive energy and optimism can be contagious,” said John M. Tew, MD, Clinical Director of UCNI. “Like a good virus, this energy spreads from an individual to his or her friends, and from those friends to the next circle of friends. I acknowledge my personal gratitude to all who worked so collaboratively and courageously on an event whose success exceeded all expectations.”

Kudos go to many whose efforts made the walk possible:

  • Co-chairs Chris Knueven and Wally Pagan
  • Community Advisory Board members Kathy Beechem, Ricki Collins, Sandy Hempel, Rick June, Brian Wiles, Kimbaird Avant, Tom Rosenberger and Gina Weitzel
  • Mike Collins, Shawn Verhoff and their team from Promotions One
  • Liz Keating, Kathy Nullmeier and Jenny Dilbert
  • Volunteer coordinator Collin June
  • Silver sponsors Miller-Valentine Group, the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile USBank Foundation, Fund Evaluation Group and Mayfield Clinic
  • Additional sponsors: Kroger, Taft, Stettinius, and Hollister, LLP, The Alliance Academy of Cincinnati, Humana, PNC, Brower Insurance Company, Trauth Dairy, LLC, and Southbank Partners
  • Children’s sponsor Ronald Warnick, MD
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