Student-athletes host race for child therapy

Katie Cassavell

Running with the Wildcats, a 5k run hosted by student-athletes, takes place at 6 p.m. tonight on Main Campus to support the “Each One Counts” foundation. 

Registration for the event begins at 4:30 p.m. The fee is $10 and all funds go directly towards providing sick children with therapies including massage, hydro, art, music, pet and yoga.

All Villanova athletic teams will be participating in some way, whether by running, registering runners, working the event or simply encouraging others to get involved. 

The Student-Athlete Advisory Council, which is organizing the race, has been registering students at the Oreo since Monday.

SAAC adviser Allison Venella hopes all members of the Villanova Community will participate. 

“It’s not just about our student-athletes,” Venella said. “It’s about everyone becoming involved and knowing what is going on outside of this campus bubble that we live in.”

The race will start and end at the Oreo and consist of three laps around Main Campus. Walking is also an option, and those who cannot participate are encouraged to decorate butterfly cut-outs that will be assembled in a collage. 

Brian Harrington, former Villanova basketball player for the 1985 championship team, and men’s basketball Assistant Coach Doug West started the “Each One Counts” foundation to help ease the physical pain and suffering of terminally ill children. 

According to Harrington, the foundation provides children with therapies that insurance does not cover. 

Children normally cannot receive such services unless they come from wealthy families. Statistics show that each year 1.2 million children need hospice or palliative care, yet less than 1 percent receive the care they need. Student-athletes  frequently receive similar therapies such as massages and hydrotherapy after their workouts. 

“There was a connection between what we were doing and actual therapy that athletes use,” Harrington said. “They understand that [these therapies] work.”

 “The idea here is that if you can’t run, each dollar counts, each contribution counts, everything that we do to raise money –– it all counts,” Harrington said. 

“It’s a really easy thing… you are just running or walking,” Venella said. “If you have a million things going on, you can take the time to just come out for half an hour.”

According to Harrington, some student-athletes have shown interest in helping the “Each One Counts” foundation outside of the race and even over the summer.

“The student-athletes have really stepped up and helped with this,” Harrington said. “They are doing some really great stuff.”

Over the last two years the “Each One Counts” foundation, with help from participants of Running with the Wildcats, has donated $45,000 to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Harrington wants students to feel a part of it. 

“Every step that they take and the money that is raised is going to benefit these kids, and it’s going to be meaningful in their lives,” he said.