John Daniel remembers the time he spent in rehabilitation at Children's Hospital of Richmond, VA. Thirteen years ago, the then-11-year-old was playing basketball in his driveway when a falling tree struck him, leaving him paralyzed and suffering from a head injury.
On Oct. 25, 2003, Daniel was one of the approximately 500 people who participated in the inaugural American Family Fitness Center's 10K run/5K walk to benefit Children's Hospital.
“I came just to support Children's Hospital,” said Daniel, now 24.
The event was a first of this kind for American Family Fitness Centers, the largest privately held fitness centers in Richmond. However, its history of fundraising for Children's Hospital goes back several years, with more than $60,000 raised since 1998. “This time, we wanted to go beyond the scope of the club membership and open the race up to the entire community,” said Anne Buckley, director of public relations for American Family Fitness Centers. The Oct. 25 event raised about $9,000, which for a first-time event left everyone pleased.
“Children's Hospital is so grateful for the support and generosity of American family Fitness, its staff and its members,” said Kerry Kent, the hospital's director of special events. “The success of the inaugural 10K run and 5K walk was due completely to American Family's hard work and enthusiasm.”
Brian Evans, president of Richmond Fitness Inc., the parent company of American Family Fitness Centers, addressed the crowd at the awards ceremony after the race and thanked the participants and their supporters for turning out.
“As children, we all had dreams about our futures,” Evens said. “The children inside [the hospital] have dreams too, and by coming out today, you've helped make part of those dreams a reality.”
For those who are interested in donating to this cause or getting involved in their communities, please contact John Agoglia, editor-in-chief of Club Industry, at [email protected].