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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Students to run for their lives, and hope


Courtesy of Isabel Hartmann

Runners participate in the 2013 Run For Your Life, hosted by the Student Health Advocacy Committee. SHAC will host the 2014 Run For Your Life this Saturday to raise money for Tucson Hope Fest.

UA students will promote health and fitness this Saturday while helping marginalized, underprivileged and underserved community members.

The Student Health Advocacy Committee, a student-run group that promotes health and wellness, will host its eighth annual Run For Your Life 5K fundraiser this Saturday, where participants will walk or run laps around the UA Mall. Proceeds from the event are donated directly to Tucson Hope Fest, a local event held in October that helps about 20,000 underserved Tucsonans by providing them with medical and dental care as well as clothes, groceries and haircuts.

Run For Your Life is a way for SHAC to promote its mission while encouraging students to be involved in the community, said Stephanie Kha, director of SHAC and a biochemistry junior.

“This run is more than just physical health, and it’s more than just raising money — it’s a combination of both,” Kha said. “We want to fuel [students] with the desire to lead a healthy, active lifestyle.”

The money raised through Run For Your Life pays for flu vaccinations offered at Hope Fest, Kha said. Lisa Chastain, executive director of Hope Network, Inc., the community outreach organization that hosts Hope Fest, said there are limited options for even discounted flu vaccinations in Tucson every year, and that she’s grateful that SHAC’s donations from the run can help the organization offer that service.

While the run is in its eighth year, this will be the fourth year SHAC donates the proceeds to Hope Fest. In the past three years, the committee has donated about $10,000 to the October event, which is held on national Make A Difference Day, Chastain said.

SHAC members also volunteer every year at Hope Fest. Getting to know some of the families that benefit from the resources Hope Fest provides is rewarding, Kha said.

The run is sponsored by local businesses, including Tucson Federal Credit Union, Cheba Hut and Oracle Modern Dentistry and Orthodontics. The UA’s Arizona Student Unions and the University of Arizona Medical Center are also sponsors.

Tatiana Bustamante, regional marketing assistant for Oracle Modern Dentistry and Orthodontics, said that the business chose to sponsor the event because it is always looking to help the Tucson community, and believes the charity run raises money for a good cause. Members from the dental clinic will be giving away toothbrushes and teaching kids how to brush their teeth properly, according to Bustamante.

Seeing students find time to help the community on top of their schoolwork is also great, Bustamante added.

“Students have a lot on their plate,” Bustamante said, “and them actually taking the time to do something like this, to help their community, says a lot about who they are.”

Chastain said that having students donate and volunteer their time to Hope Fest shows that they are leaders in the community and teaches the students life lessons.

“School is difficult enough, but when they’re also so civic-minded, community-minded. that they want to not only do their student duties, but they also want to give back to the community, it shows outstanding leadership skills,” Chastain said. “So we were blown away when they first came to us and said that they wanted to do this.”

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