Not Your Average Run

By Alayna Callanan ’14
University Communications

As a graduating senior at U of R, it was on my bucket list to eat a Garbage Plate at the original Nick Tahou’s. How better to do it than by participating in Sigma Phi Epsilon’s 11th annual Nick Tahou’s Run?

Now, I am not much of a runner. I ran one season of cross-country in high school but have not run consistently since. Only twice have I ever run more than a 5K, so even without factoring in the food, the 4.4 mile run was daunting. Even worse, my stomach is fairly sensitive; I never eat fast food and try to avoid greasy, unhealthy food at all costs. However, something about Sig Ep’s run was calling to me.

For anyone not familiar with a Garbage Plate, it is combination of meat, carbs and hot sauce. In this case, two cheeseburgers over heaping piles of home fries and mac salad, smothered in Nick’s signature hot sauce along with two slices of bread, which were all donated by Nick Tahou’s. Normally, the task of running and eating is split by a team of two or three people, but I was feeling crazy enough to undertake the event without aid.

The pride of becoming an Iron Woman, running the 2.2 miles to the original Nick Tahou’s, eating an entire Garbage Plate singlehandedly, and running back, was appealing in a bizarre way.  I must not have been the only one to feel this way! Nearly 50 participants, including many Iron Men and Iron Women, braved the “balmy” Rochester day with weather hovering around freezing and occasional flurries and strong winds on Saturday, April 5. It was a tough challenge physically, but the mental game was much worse. I could not imagine doing the race alone, so I enlisted Miriam Grigsby ’17 to pursue the Iron Woman challenge alongside me. Without each other’s support, we would not have been able to finish in an hour and six minutes; together we were able to keep each other motivated, run’s both ways, and suppress the overwhelming urge to spew.

Better yet, all proceeds of the race benefitted the Mt. Hope Family Center! The Mt. Hope Family Center works with the Clinical and Social Psychology Department to build strong families by providing intervention and prevention therapies to at-risk children and families.

This race is certainly not for the faint of heart… or stomach, but I would highly recommend it to anyone considering participating in the future! While supporting a great cause, I had a fantastic and highly memorable day. One less thing to do on my shrinking list of things to do before Commencement! I am sure the Class of 2014 can sympathize with the excitement and dread of May 18. So if you are one of those seniors who still has not consumed a Garbage Plate, get on it! The clock is ticking.

And, here’s a special shout out to Jane Clinger ’16 who was the first solo competitor to finish at an impressive time of 44:20! (Depending on how fast she ate, that’s about a 7-minute mile!)

Watch WROC-TV’s story about the event here!

Rochester Undergrads Raise $20K for Rare Disease Research

University of Rochester student Sarah Gelbard is on a mission to raise awareness of Friedreich’s ataxia (FA), a debilitating neuromuscular disease. Her best friend, Laura Ferrarone, struggles daily with the effects of FA, while Laura’s sister, Sara, also suffered from the disease and passed away in November at the age of 26. The strength of the Ferrarone family, and their work raising thousands of dollars for FA research inspired Gelbard to do the same. She found a powerful ally in senior YellowJacket Galen Dole, whose younger sister Marlise was diagnosed with FA at the age of eight. Together, they set a goal of raising $10,000 for the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA).

All proceeds from the YellowJackets’ April 5 concert were donated to FARA, as well as money raised through the sale of limited edition YellowJackets fan t-shirts. Gelbard and Dole also started a page through GoFundMe, which allows visitors to make online donations.

“Like Sarah, I have watched someone I love lose her mobility and confront hardships that no one should have to confront—all with the sunniest of dispositions,” says Dole. “In honor of Sara and Laura Ferrarone and Marlise, the YellowJackets are proud to raise funds for and awareness of this rare, devastating, and life-shortening disease.”

A nonprofit organization dedicated to curing Friedreich’s ataxia, FARA grants and activities provide support for research, pharmaceutical/biotech drug development, clinical trials, and scientific conferences. FARA also serves as a catalyst, between the public and scientific community, to create worldwide exchanges of information that drive medical advances.

“I know that the curing of a tremendously complicated genetic disease is, well, tremendously complicated—but I also know that it is possible,” Gelbard says, pointing to the Ferrarone family’s work creating a worldwide patient registry for the disease as an important first step. “Sara was the first person to be entered into the worldwide patient registry in Rochester, and perhaps Laura will be the first person to see the benefits of a cure.”

In a little less than two months, Gelbard, Dole, and the YellowJackets have raised more than $20,000 through GoFundMe and concert proceeds. But, their work isn’t done yet. This week, they are making one last push to raise funds through GoFundMe before closing the page on Wednesday, May 1.

“We hope members of the Rochester community will continue to answer our call to action by giving a small amount or by passing this story along,” Gelbard says. “For these efforts to be meaningful for the 15,000 people across the globe living with FA, they have to be continued, and for that, we need your help.”

UR Habitat Advocates for Homeless during Shack-A-Thon

By Alayna Callanan
Univ. Communications

This Friday, members of UR Habitat for Humanity will host their second annual Shack-A-Thon, spending a cold night outside of Wilson Commons in makeshift shacks created out of nothing but cardboard boxes and duck tape.

Shack-A-Thon is designed to promote awareness for the club and the widespread issue of homelessness. The event also serves as a fundraiser for Habitat’s Alternative Spring Break, where students travel to a different state to assist with a build in that area for the week.

Last year Shack-A-Thon’s roughly 50 participants raised more than $800, giving members the opportunity to travel to Goldsboro, N.C. where they stayed at a local church. While in Goldsboro, they built a shed, helped put up siding, and painted the house.

UR Habitat for Humanity shares Habitat International’s mission of eliminating poverty and homelessness worldwide through an active and conscious process for people to attain decent shelters. Through their affiliation with Flower City Habitat for Humanity, the University’s chapter participates in six local builds per year, helping to provide quality, safe, and affordable housing for Rochester natives in need. During the year, the chapter raises funds for builds, educates others about housing issues, volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House, and helps sort donated food at Foodlink.

This year, organizers would like to see even more funds raised through a greater number of participants in Shack-A-Thon, which begins at 5 p.m. Registration, which is $20 for teams of up to 8 people, includes six boxes and duct tape for building a shack, dinner, breakfast and coffee the next morning. Additional boxes cost $5 each and for every five boxes purchased the sixth box is free. Each team is required to keep at least one person in their shack at all times during the event, with the exception of viewing performances and speakers. Activities include board games, tie dye, and access to performances by the Yellowjackets, Midnight Ramblers, Louvre, and more!  This fun, philanthropic event is co-sponsored by UR Habitat for Humanity, WRUR, and the Recreational Ski and Snowboard Club.

In addition to Shack-A-Thon, there are several other ways students can contribute to UR Habitat, including donating money via cash, flex, credit, or check in Wilson Commons at their table. Through Monday, Oct. 1, UR’s chapter of Habitat also is participating in Barnes and Noble’s “Build a Future Challenge” on Facebook. Head to the University’s Barnes and Noble Facebook page and write a comment about Habitat, or like or share their challenge. The campus chapter that gets the most points wins a $1,000 donation.

Article written by Alayna Callanan ’14, an intern with University Communications.

In the Photo: Shack-A-Thon 2011 winners Casey Gould ’14 and Aaron Rusheen ’14 pose in their house.