Welcome to Susan Koehler our new Executive Director at Hopecam. Susan relocated to the DC region from San Diego and has been leading the charge with new goals, resources and a big heart.
Thanks to Michael Tuteur CEO of votenet.com who donated $1,000 to Hopecam today and invited me to share the story of Race Across America with his leadership team this afternoon in Washington DC
In September I started preparing to tell the story about my race this summer and decided to write a book about the experience and how we were capable of putting together such a high performing team to assist me in making it to the finish line. Well I have written over 90,000 words on 160+ pages to date and I am on track to finish documenting the guts of the story before the year is over. Mt friend Steve Gladis who has written over half a dozen books calls this my “shitty FIRST draft”
Welcome Jason, our newest Hopecam participant!
It was very nice to meet Jason and his family last week The favorite part of my job is getting to see the smiles on these children’s faces when they receive their Hopecams. Jason instantly smiled when his mother and I told him he would get to see his classmates soon. It is truly a special feeling getting to work with these brave kidos.
Here is our newest HopeCam recipient
My alma mater American University featured Hopecam on the University website recently. click the link above to see the article, or read below:
Kogod Alum Bikes Across America for Charity
Forkas, MBA ‘87, isn’t an Olympic athlete, but he did finish a 3,000 mile bicycle race this summer.
The grueling Race Across America (RAAM) from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland was a testament to Forkas’ physical fitness and unyielding determination. It was also the product of his commitment to a cause close to his heart.
In 2002, Forkas founded Hopecam, a nonprofit that connects homebound children undergoing treatment for cancer and other life-threatening illnesses with their friends at school using laptops, high-speed internet connections, and web cameras.
A 52-year-old father of two, Forkas became invested in the cause when his own son, Matt, was diagnosed with leukemia at 10 years old. After seeing firsthand the loneliness, boredom, and isolation homebound cancer patients endure, Forkas created Hopecam to bring back the social element of childhood for his son and other children. Matt is now 19 and healthy.
In order to raise money and awareness for Hopecam, Forkas called the RAAM “Len’s Race for Hope,” and successfully raised over $320,000 for his charity—more than double his goal. The amount was reached through corporate sponsorships and personal donations, including one sizable matching donation of $150,000 from a wealthy individual.
According to Jennifer Bond, executive director of Hopecam, it takes about $500 a year to facilitate the connection between a homebound child and his or her school. With the $320,000 raised through the race, Hopecam can connect hundreds more children for years to come.
Forkas completed the 3,000-mile race—nearly 30 percent longer than the Tour de France—in 11 days, 4 hours, and 47 minutes. He rode an average of 20 hours a day, and was one of just 28 out of the 46 solo competitors to finish the race. Of those 28, Forkas placed first in his age group and tenth overall.
He credits his crew of 11 volunteers for helping him finish, as they provided him with food, water, supplies, and moral support. Some nights Forkas slept for 3 to 4 hours in hotels; other days he would ride all day and take sporadic 15-minute naps in the accompanying RV.
His diet consisted of 80 percent liquids; he was 10 pounds lighter by the time he reached Maryland’s capitol city.
In addition to his work for Hopecam, Forkas is the founder and CEO of Milestone Communications, a wireless infrastructure company that has developed and managed over 40 wireless towers in the Washington, D.C. region. The Reston, Virginia-based company was founded in 2000, and specializes in creating partnerships with local governments in order to build on public properties.
After graduating with a degree in architecture from Ball State University, Forkas earned his MBA, specializing in finance. He said that AU prepared him to become an entrepreneur in the real estate and wireless industries, and that during his time at Kogod he built many lasting relationships with classmates.
Speaking to the blog Late Blooming Entrepreneurs, Forkas said, “The race is brutal, both physically and mentally. But compared with what a child with cancer goes through, it’s peanuts.”
If you would like to donate to Hopecam, you can do so at hopecam.org/donate.
Big thank you to the meteorogists !!!
Big thanks to the meteorologists at the weatherbug whose parent company is called Earth Networks
They are located in Germantown Maryland and supported our team with live weather feeds every 12 hours during the race across America. These guys told me he went to sleep wen to rest and when to hide from the weather patterns across the route
Thank you to Pat Hynes, Vice Chair of the Fairfax County School Board, for her kind letter to Len in support of Len’s Race for Hope and Hopecam’s mission. Fairfax County Public Schools was the charity’s first school partner and has continued to be a very strong supporter of the program for over a decade.
Hopecam would like to thank the Virginia Wireless Association for contributing $7,500 from the 4th Annual Golf benefit held in Glen Allen VA at the Hunting Hawk Golf Club. The Virginia Wireless Association has contributed over $17,500 in support for Hopecam’s mission, resulting in connecting dozens of children throughout Virginia. through Hopecam’s partnership with the Virginia Commonwealth University Hospital Center in Richmond. Many thanks for the support of the Board of Directors including Ed Donohue (pictured with Len) Ed Roach, Eileen Hastings, Ginger Beaudoin, Rich Biby, William Pirtle and Brian Robinson.
Race for Hope Celebration - Thursday July 20, 2012, Reston VA
We wanted to celebrate and thank the many volunteers and staff members who contributed to our success last month. Pictured above in the top left are Hopecam Director Jenifer Bond, Robin Dvorak and Kaitee DeMonte. Robin Managed the blog and the communication effort with media. Kaitee was the crew massage therapist. top right are Len & Elizabeth. Elizabeth held down the Forkas Family fort while I was gone out on all day saturday rides and the many weekends away training on the race course. There was no way possible that I could have attempted to prepare for this race with the diligence that was needed without the support and sacrifice from my family, including Viena, my 14 year old daughter. I missed many family dinners, opportunities to help with homework and class assignments and generally just not being around home to help out.
Below are crew members Ken Gates, Bill Sickenberger, Greg Wood and Steve Gurney. My son Matt is pictured along side Linda Divalerio, who arranged many of the flights and compiled the expenses & paid the bills for the experience.
Alex Green was honored at our Race Finish celebration held on Thursday night in Reston VA for the “Ride for Hope”. I dedicated my first day ride to Alex when departing Oceanside CA for the long journey ahead. Alex can relate to the challenge that lay ahead of me. He is on a tremendously long journey himself. Alex has a rare form of cancer called Wills Tumor. Several years ago after being diagnosed, he underwent multiple rounds of chemotherapy to eliminate the tumor. He was in remission for several months. When he relapsed, surgery was needed and due to the complexity and length of the operation, his spinal cord was damaged leaving him paralyzed below the waist. Alex is an incredibly positive and determined young man.
When I met him Thursday he presented me a card congratulating my race finish, and enclosed several pictures from this summers travels. Alex challenged me to a wheel chair race, but I know he will crush me in that competition. Alex is working hard every day to get his legs moving again and has made progress toward that goal, and I’ll be praying for his recovery. I bicycled 20 hours a day for 11 days to reach my goal, but it pales in comparison to what Alex is aiming for.
When Alex received his Hopecam computer while being treated at Inova hospital earlier in the year he was able to connect to his friends at school using skype. He held up the computer one session and panned the camera around his hospital room to show wall to wall - floor to ceiling… all the cards, posters and art work his classmates had sent him taped onto the walls of his room over his month long stay.
Thanks to the generous support of our volunteers and donors we hope to help more children like Alex. Our Hopecam staff will be keeping in touch with Alex and his family he travels down the long and challenging path toward his recovery and cure.