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The Journal Gazette

  • Katie Fyfe | The Journal Gazette Megan Dean and Amber Reidenbach run together during the 11th annual Formula for Life 5k run/walk and silent auction at the University of Saint Francis on Sunday.

  • Katie Fyfe | The Journal Gazette Bev Hoban makes her way to the finish line during the 11th annual Formula for Life 5K run/walk and silent auction at the University of Saint Francis Sunday.

  • Katie Fyfe | The Journal Gazette Joshua Paden crosses the finish line during the 11th annual Formula for Life 5K run/walk and silent auction at the University of Saint Francis on Sunday.

  • Katie Fyfe | The Journal Gazette The University of Saint Francis hosts the 11th annual Formula for Life 5K run/walk and silent auction Sunday. Proceeds from the event support Our Lady of Perpetual Help Orphanage in Haiti.

  • Katie Fyfe | The Journal Gazette The University of Saint Francis hosts the 11th annual Formula for Life 5K run/walk and silent auction Sunday. Proceeds from the event support Our Lady of Perpetual Help Orphanage in Haiti.

Sunday, April 14, 2019 7:30 pm

Runners pound wet pavement to raise money for Haiti orphans

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

The scene at Hutzell Athletic Center on Sunday afternoon seemed typical of post-race festivities: runners and walkers piled plates with snacks and flocked to the 5k results taped to the walls as a singer-guitarist played onstage.

Amy Obringer, a University of Saint Francis biology professor, had a different perspective of the on-campus activity: It showed that one person can make a difference.

The 11th annual Formula for Life 5k Run/Walk stemmed from a student – now an alumna working as an emergency room physician in Chicago – inspired to feed orphaned Haitian infants.

The effort supports Our Lady of Perpetual Help Orphanage, which students have visited during mission trips. Medical, dental, mental health and veterinary needs have also been addressed.

Over 300 people registered for this year's event, which included a silent auction of such items as restaurant gift cards, amusement park tickets, home decor, jewelry and maple syrup collected by a Saint Francis science class.

Past events have raised $10,000 to $12,000, student co-leader Lizzie Meyer said.

Julia Kuhar, a junior who previously volunteered for the event, said Formula for Life is widely supported on campus, with some classes offering incentives to get involved.

She completed the 5k this year, joining sophomores Sarah Roth and Bailey Matthias for a snack afterward. They, and others, crossed the finish line damp and cold from the rainy, windy weather.

Roth admitted she had second thoughts during the 5k.

"But we kept running," Matthias said. She added, "We're still in good spirits."

Tables featured photographs from past mission trips and flyers about sponsoring an orphan, the salary of a cook and the salary of a teacher in Haiti.

Meyer, a senior, traveled to the country last year and spent two days at the orphanage, where the children were excited to see the group, she said. Other activities included visiting a hospital and setting up a mobile clinic at a nursing school to demonstrate how a clinic should be run, she said.

Saint Francis won't make the trip this spring due to a travel advisory issued by the U.S. government, Meyer said.

"I was heartbroken for them," Meyer said of the students unable to go.

Involved since the beginning, Obringer said she didn't imagine this longevity from one student's idea.

"We'll do it until there's no longer a need," she said, noting over $200,000 has been raised to date.

asloboda@jg.net