The Hope & Hearts event is special day to Run. Walk & Give Families Hope! This event is about acknowledging together the lives of those whom we miss and hold dear. We honor the lives of babies and children who are in heaven, and come together to heal as a community and to say these precious babies and children will never be forgotten.
The event also helps to raise awareness about pregnancy and infant loss along with the needed funds for Missing GRACE Foundation to provide free services and support for grieving, infertile and adoptive families. Bereaved parents and their loved ones are invited to create a team page to tell their story and to raise funds.
The event includes: a 5K timed run, a 3.8K memorial walk, kids' fun dash, Steps for Hope Memorial Signs, a memorial wall, team photos, event t-shirts and personalized shirts, kids' carnival, live music, food, team and finisher prizes, vendors and a commemoration ceremony where every baby's name is read aloud from the stage.
Directors of the Minnesota Hope & Hearts Run
My name is Amy Berry and I have been a volunteer with MGF for 11 years. I got involved after my dear friends, Dan and April Wurst, had a stillborn baby girl, named Kaila in 2002. Together, they joined with Candy and Stephen McVicar to start what is now the Minnesota Hope & Hearts Run. I have been on The Core Volunteer Team, and been the Marketing Director the past 6 years for the event. I also feel a personal connection to this event as I suffered loss through two miscarriages before my two wonderful children, Sydney (13) and Jack (10) were born.
Volunteering alongside so many wonderful people over the last decade has been an absolute honor for me. Meeting families that have lost precious babies and hearing their stories has touched my heart deeply. MGF is making a difference providing resources and support to bereaved, infertile and adoptive families nationwide, and I am so glad to be a part of that important and much needed assistance. I am privileged to be working with my Co-Director, Cheri Chalstrom.
My name is Cheri Chalstrom. I am a mother to 6 beautiful daughters and grandma to 16 wonderful grandchildren. One of my grandbabies lives with Jesus in Heaven. Blake Steven was born still on April 18, 2014 which happened to be Good Friday. That night as I left my daughter Sarah at the hospital after Blake was born, I knew I had to find an organization that could help us through the pain of our incredible grief. A dear friend of mine told me about Missing GRACE Foundation. We started attending the GRACE Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support Group. Sarah and I then also volunteered at the T-shirt table at the Hope & Hearts event that year. We helped participants personalize their baby's name onto their shirts. The Hope & Hearts event is one of the best ways to bring our family and friends together to remember our precious grandson Blake. We now pay it forward to an organization who has helped us tremendously and honor baby Blake, by facilitating the Rogers GRACE Support Group together. It is such a blessing to be able to help others to heal and find community in their grief journey. I am proud and excited to be helping with the Minnesota Hope & Hearts event as a Co-Director alongside Amy Berry! I am looking forward to another beautiful and healing day for our family, friends and the whole community.
My name is Julene Stitt. I am a proud mommy to 2 angels in Heaven, Max and Sam. My journey with Missing GRACE Foundation and Minnesota Hope & Hearts 5K and Memorial Walk began on August 10, 2008 when my twins were born at 24 weeks gestation. Sam was stillborn and Max fought for 24 hours before he joined his brother in heaven. While grieving and struggling to make sense of what happened I started trying to find some way for Max and Sam to have a legacy here on earth that weren’t able to make for themselves. The following month my brother, Joey was running a 5k at Lake Harriet. As he was running he noticed all these signs along the path and didn’t quite understand what he had stumbled upon. After the 5K, he walked around the event and discovered Missing GRACE and Kaila & Grace’s Hope & Hearts event. He made the 1st team Max and Sam t-shirt by stamping their names on the back. He brought me the shirt, information about the event and brought the Missing GRACE Foundation into my life. The rest is history…
I would like to thank Candy & Stephen McVicar for this wonderful foundation and this important event allowing parents like myself to parent our angels the only we can, by volunteering, fundraising and making a difference in our babies name.
I have been heavily involved with planning of the Hope & Hearts event each year since I was introduced to this and the people I've met have become like family to me. I am truly honored and humbled to share this journey with Amy Berry, Cheri Chalstrom and all the people I have been blessed to have met over the years.
Next Minnesota Hope & Hearts Run/Walk
Saturday, September 16th, 2017 2017 Hope & Hearts Event Site Teams
: To create a Personal Memorial Page and a Team Fundraising page, you will register to attend and in doing so, you receive a user account and the site guides you through how to set up your free pages, where you can add your photos, write out your story and post your page to Facebook and Twitter. Your friends and family can donate to your Team page and your totals will be reflected on your thermometer. Click here to Register! Location
: Bunker Hills Regional Park in Coon Rapids. http://mn-anokacounty.civicplus.com/DocumentCenter/View/2206
There are 2 entrances to the park. The North entrance gatehouse is closest to the pavilions #3 and #2 where the Hope & Hearts event takes place.
North Entrance is located at: Bunker Lake Blvd (also called Country Rd 116)
Enter into park at County Park Road ASchedule & Fees:
Registration, music, memorial wall, photos, t-shirt personalization and food
- 5K Timed Run ages 13 and older $25 pre-reg/ $30 onsite
- 3.8K Memorial Walk ages 13 and older $25 pre-reg/ $30 onsite (12 and younger FREE)
- Kids' Fun Dash ages 12 and younger $10 pre-reg/ $12 onsite
- Prizes and Presentation
- Commemoration Ceremony
HISTORY OF THE HOPE & HEARTS EVENTS
What are Hope & Hearts Events? Here is how the first event got started and what it is all about…
The first Hope & Hearts Run/Walk was held in Minnesota in 2005. April and Dan Wurst and Candy and Steve McVicar founded Hope & Hearts Run and began hosting the event in honor of their daughters, Kaila and Grace, who were both stillborn due to cord issues at 38 and 33 weeks gestation respectively. Proceeds from all Hope & Hearts Run/Walks benefit the Missing GRACE Foundation.
The banner of a Hope & Hearts event is “Raising Awareness About Pregnancy Loss & Stillbirth Prevention.” At the first event, more than 150 people participated and over $13,000 was raised. By the 4th year, more than 1000 people joined to run and walk and raised over $80,000.
The event draws bereaved families from all over Minnesota and other Midwest states and takes place at Bunker Hills Park in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. Hope & Hearts events have been held in Texas in memory of Payton, in New Mexico in memory of Blakey, in Kentucky in memory of Gracie, and in Ohio in memory of Annabelle.2016 Event Site 2015 Event Site 2014 Event Site
STARTING A HOPE & HEARTS EVENT IN YOUR AREA
Would you like to create an event in honor of your baby that will help provide resources and support for families who have experienced a pregnancy or infant loss, and will fund programs that prevent further loss for others? We invite you to partner with Missing GRACE Foundation, a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit, to create a Hope & Hearts event in your area! Hope & Hearts is about hope for the future through education and research and supporting the hearts of families who have lost to move forward. Help make a difference and join us as we…Run. Walk. Give Families Hope!
Currently, our Hope & Hearts benefit is in Minnesota and is a 5K run/memorial walk event. The 12th Annual Hope & Hearts Run/Walk event will take place on September 16th, 2017. We are looking to grow Hope & Hearts Run/Walk events into many other states as well as to offer additional kinds of Hope & Hearts events. Creativity is encouraged!
If you want to make it a memorial event, your baby’s name can be included in the title example: “Baby Rose’s Hope & Hearts Bike Across America.” Some great Hope & Hearts events to organize are sporting events like golf tournaments, marathons, duathelons and triathlons.