‘Nova student-athletes plan Running with the Wildcats

Tim Richer

Many students at Villanova strive to do community service during their time in school, and student-athletes are no exception.

This Saturday at 10:30 a.m., the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the Each One Counts Foundation will host the second annual Running with the Wildcats, a 5K charity run/walk that will raise funds to ease the pain and suffering of terminally ill children who are receiving pediatric hospice care. The event will begin at the Oreo and circle Villanova’s campus.

Brian Harrington, president of the Each One Counts Foundation and member of Villanova’s 1985 National Championship team, is at the front of planning of Running with the Wildcats.

In 2006, Harrington began the foundation with Rollie Massimino, head coach of the ’85 team. During its first year, the Each One Counts Foundation raised $310,000.

Soon after the foundation’s inception, Harrington ran the idea of a fundraiser by Villanova Athletic Director Vince Nicastro. Nicastro accepted the idea, and it was proposed to SAAC, which welcomed the concept of a run. The first run was held in the spring of 2007. Two hundred student runners participated and raised $25,000 for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

The 2008 event is organized by senior Stephanie Campbell, SAAC president and a member of the field hockey team, and senior Kristopher Brown, SAAC vice president and amember of the football team, in conjunction with the foundation.

Running with the Wildcats gives student-athletes a chance to give back to the community.

“The majority of athletes are not able to do mission trips or Campus Ministry due to hectic schedules,” Brown said. “This is our opportunity to do community service.”

Brown, Campbell and Harrington expect 300 runners to attend this year’s event. Registration for participants continues at the Oreo until tomorrow.

“This event is very unique because it expresses the philanthropy of the University,” Harrington said. “It is truly a testament to the hard work that the student-athletes are doing.”

According to Children’s Hospice International, over 1.3 million children per year in the United States need pediatric hospice care. Of those, around 50,000 of these children die each year. The organization cites that only 1 percent of the deceased patients received the proper care that they need.

Planning for the event began in early November with meetings between Brown, Campbell and Harrington to brainstorm promotions and marketing of the event. Among the giveaway raffle prizes that were raised for the events are give certificates from Minella’s Diner, Sunoco Gas, Gullifty’s, Connelly Center, the University Shop, Wayne Sporting Goods and Kelly’s.

With over 600 student-athletes at Villanova, Brown and Campbell had the tough task of attempting to generate interest among their peers. To their delight, many of the athletic teams have been responsive to the fundraiser, a large reason for the increased expectations for the 2008 event.

“It’s exciting to my team to have the opportunity to do something that has nothing to do with field hockey or practice,” Campbell said. “We get to go out, be with other athletes and have a good time for a good cause.”