The Hope for Depression Research Foundation (HDRF) held a live video broadcast for its Winter 2021 Virtual Race of Hope. Although the program originated from Palm Beach, more than 1,000 men, women and children participated from coast to coast to raise over $350,000 for HDRF’s advanced depression research to find new treatments for depression and its related mood disorders. The 5K Walk/Run race was the it has been since 2019, except this year, HDRF’s virtual race allowed participants to share the excitement of the starting line from a safe distance via live broadcast due to COVID-19 restrictions.
HDRF Chair Audrey Gruss and Advisory Council member Scott Snyder were Co-Grand Marshals and hosted the live broadcast from Palm Beach, while racers from around the country posted messages as they were watching the broadcast before doing their actual 5K races.
According to Audrey, “HDRF’s mental health mission is more important than ever, when research shows that over 40% of Americans are affected by depression and anxiety. We are so grateful for the generosity of the Palm Beach community and from runners across the nation.”
“We had to cut off registration at 1,000 participants, only because we ran out of gear! We were absolutely bowled over by the response the Race of Hope has received in Palm Beach and nationally,” added Scott Snyder.
Music legend Gloria Estefan made a surprise special appearance and performed a moving song, We Needed Time, from her own living room.
Gruss and Snyder shared selfies from Palm Beach Committee Members and top donors. SFC Ben Pattison for the U.S. Army Chorus sang the national anthem. Gruss and Snyder sounded the starting horn at 8:30 AM and wished all participants good luck in their races that were run across the country, from Florida to New Hampshire to Wisconsin and California.
Palm Beach Committee Members who sent video messages of hope included: James Borynack & Adolfo Zaralegui of Findlay Galleries who underwrote the finisher medals, Frances Fisher, Eleanora Kennedy, Melanie & Roger Lawson, Heidi McWilliams, William Meyer, Sharon Bush and Bob Murray, Lucy Musso, Amy Phelan, Pauline Pitt, Fran Scaife, Felicia Taylor, Lynne Wheat, Ellen Wilner, and Nancy Yanofsky and Ed Brown.
Sponsors who sent video messages of Hope included James R. Borynack and Adolfo Zaralegui of Findlay Galleries, James Remez of Livingston Builders, Inez Fogel Heery of Betteridge Jewelers and Hank Siegel of Hamilton Jewelers.
The broadcast also thanked event sponsors including Addison Hines Charitable Trust, Livingston Builders, Findlay Galleries, The Royal Poinciana Plaza, Impala Assets, Frances Valentine, Black River Caviar, Gunster, HIVE, Smith & Elkin, CPA’s, P.A., Hamilton Jewelers, La Clara | Great Gulf, PACE Gallery, Brown Moving and Storage, Sant Ambroeus, Palm Beach Atlantic University, Palm Beach Illustrated and Sunreef Yachts.
This year, participants ran on their own instead of gathering at a common location. Many participants completed their races early, before the official race day. They sent in selfie photos and videos which were played on the race day broadcast. Other participants chose to start their races at the designated start time of 8:30 am EDT on Saturday, February 27. They ran in their own hometowns and chose their own race routes. They brought their phones to their starting lines and watched the program and countdown online, and sent messages as they were racing.
For example, Committee member Eleanora Kennedy met with friends Priscilla Rattazzi, Nicholas Varney and Kara Ross to run the traditional 5K course in West Palm Beach, starting at the Royal Poinciana Plaza. They wore special race of Hope gear including face masks and ran safely distanced, per CDC guidelines.
“We are so excited to be out for this cause today,” said Kennedy.“After our run we are going to have lunch outdoors at Sant Ambroeus as a reward!”
At the very same time, Peggy Schnack, who was running her 5K in snowy Concord, New Hampshire, said: “You give me hope that better treatment is possible. I have major depressive disorder that went undiagnosed for many years. I haven’t run since moving to NH in August. It’s been a hard adjustment and being active is a struggle. Thank you for helping me get out the door this morning where I proved to myself that I can still do a 5K and that it feels good to run, no matter how slow.”
Race of Hope Virtual – Winter 2021 Committee Members included: Karen Berger, Bruce Bierman & William Secord, James R. Borynack & Adolfo Zaralegui, Becky & F. William Bryan, Janet & J.J. Cafaro, Annabelle & Denis Coleman, Jr., Deborah & Philippe Dauman, Jennifer & David Fischer, Frances Fisher, Helen C. Fitzgerald, Inez Fogel Heery, Manager, Betteridge, Joanie & Murray Goodman, Heidi Hanna, Lawrence Herbert, J. Ira & Nicki Harris, Eva & Herb Jacobi, Ann Folliss Jeffrey, Jayne T. Keith, Eleanora Kennedy, Melanie & Roger Lawson, Mr. & Mrs. Sam Lehrman, Stephanie Loeffler, Laura Lofaro & James Freeman, The Honorable & Mrs. Earle Mack, Heidi McWilliams, William A. Meyer, Anita & Sam Michaels, Peggy & Dudley Moore, Mr. and Mrs. John & Carole Moran, Renée and Carlos Morrison, Sharon Bush & Robert C. Murray, Lucia N. Musso, Mario Nievera, Linda Olsson, Amy & John Phelan, Sallie B. Phillips, Robin Pickett, Mrs. Pauline B. Pitt, Thomas C. Quick & Michael Donnell, Tricia Quick, Joanna Roland, Hilary Geary Ross, Frances G. Scaife, Nancy Schaffel, Barbara & Randall Smith, Scott Snyder, Felicia Taylor, Betsy & Wally Turner, The Beam Team, Donna Ward, Ellen & James Wilner, Lynne Wheat, Nancy Yanofsky & Ed Brown, Clelia & Tom Zacharias, and David Zislin.