David April on Running, Beer, and Community

From April 16th to April 17th, two of Philly’s top runners, John Sullivan and Kellen Matthews, will be the first to run the full 109 miles of the Schuylkill River Trail in support of the city’s most financially distressed cancer patients. The money raised from this run will be used to provide cancer patients and their families with much-needed groceries to prevent hunger and relieve financial burden. David April, founding board member of Legacy of Hope and founder of Fishtown Beer Runners, will be completing the second leg of SRT109 alongside John and Kellen. April became a founding member of Legacy of Hope at the very beginning, through meeting CEO and founder, Michael Rowe, by doing a fundraiser for Eleventh House Racing, a running club that was the forerunner of Legacy of Hope. He now holds a significant impact in the leadership of the organization and is an essential team member of this community.

“It all started with me needing to do something productive and turning into a community of runners.”

April hasn’t always been a runner. When explaining how he first got into running, April says, “I started running in 2007. I was going through a divorce and I’d never ran in my life, but I needed to do something positive and constructive. I just stepped out my door and started running down the block and it felt good.” What started as a hobby to blow off some steam and make himself feel better, quickly became a national and global community. Once April decided he wanted to stick with running, he started to train for his first 5k. During his training, his good friend and running mentor told him about a doctor in Grenada, Spain who had done hydration studies with beer. These studies suggested that drinking beer after a long run wouldn’t hurt you and could actually have some restorative properties. From this study, the Fishtown Beer Runners was born — “Running and drinking in the name of science.” The Fishtown Beer Runners would go running and end their exercise in a bar with some beer, toasting to the Spanish scientist. This community of runners soon gained traction and went national and then global with their connections to Spain. April explains that at the time, running and drinking was not a popular pairing: “Bars thought we were idiots, running clubs didn’t think we were real runners, and now the Philly Marathon sells beer at the end of their races.” April gives credit to this same pairing as the reason for the success of this running community. “That’s what the key is- we’re a social club that’s focused on running, but we’re social enough to encourage people who would never think about running to break down barriers and join us. Come on, we’re having a beer at the end, it can’t be that bad, right?”

April explains that running has become far more than a physical activity to him and that the magic of it all lies in the sense of community and the connections he’s made with other people because of it. “The running club is less about beer and running than it is about community and helping other people — not only when they’re going through bad times, but also in good times. Since the club started, we’ve had about 12 marriages and following that we have 8 or 9 Beer Runner babies. The running has been the common denominator but beyond that, it’s about the community and giving back.” He explains that this is the reason he wanted to take part in SRT109. “I heard about what they [John and Kellen] were doing. The fact that they were doing it for Legacy of Hope, for our mission, to raise funds for cancer support and research, I thought ‘Wow, I can’t just stand by while they do that. I’m not able to do what they’re able to do, but as a board member and as a cancer patient myself, I gotta do something.’” April says that with every marathon, run, and race he has completed for charity, the accomplishment lies in knowing you completed the race in order to help others. When asked about taking part in SRT109 with his wife and sisters, April expressed that it is a celebration, a way to share a positive experience with the people who have been through so much with him through his ongoing journey beating and continuing to fight cancer. “Having cancer is a family affair. You go through it yourself, but then you realize that you have this family around you that has been affected. They’ve helped me, and they want to celebrate too.” He also mentions that a lot of the satisfaction from this run will come from having raised money for such an amazing cause and organization.

“The work that LOH does directly impacts cancer patients, whether it be through the grocery delivery program or the research that they fund. Knowing that we earned some money for the cause will make me feel good and give me some satisfaction. Hopefully, I’ll feel good afterward- I’m so out of shape.”

To learn more about David and the Fishtown Beer Runners’ journey as a running community, check out the documentary created on David and the group ,here!

To learn more about all the different ways you can get involved in SRT109, visit our ,event page on our website.

And to donate directly to David’s fundraising page for the event, donate ,here.

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Michele Redrow

Michele is a Director on the Legacy of Hope board and also serves on the Executive Committee.

Gina Mancuso

Gina’s experience as the very successful co-owner of CoreFitness, LLC coupled with her expertise in planning special events makes her the perfect Vice President for Legacy of Hope. With energy, passion, and drive that makes her seem superhuman, Gina’s connection to our mission is a personal one.

“Both my father and my dear childhood friend were diagnosed with cancer within 3 months of one another. They were surrounded and supported by friends and family throughout their battle and until their passing. No one should suffer through a diagnosis alone and, without Legacy of Hope, some people would do just that.”

greg garber

Greg Garber is the director of Oncology Support Services at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center.

dr. kevin kelly

Dr. Kevin Kelly leads Legacy of Hope’s Scientific Review Board to seek out and support the most promising cancer research in Philadelphia using a merit-based system.  He is Jefferson’s Director of Solid Tumor Oncology.

David April

David is the founder of the Fishtown Beer Runners, an organization with chapters all over the world based here in Philadelphia.

joseph ruggieri, jr

Education: Bachelor’s of Science from West Chester University in Management and Finance

Bio: As a member of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.’s upper management team, Joseph brings a wealth of knowledge regarding finances, management, team-building and planning to the Legacy of Hope board. Joseph linked up with Michael, our President, and Wells Fargo began supporting Legacy of Hope annually.

“My father passed away from what started as Colon Cancer in 2015. Cancer is horrible and if there is something I can do to help others impacted I would want to be a part of it.”

mary chicorelli

Professional:  Mary is a certified city planner for Philadelphia, a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association as well as the Philadelphia Bar Association, and the Pro Bono Honor Roll First Judicial District of Philadelphia.

Bio: Mary’s insight into the legal world is invaluable to Legacy of Hope, both in keeping our daily operations moving fluidly as well as making connections for our patients and their families when needed.

“Michael reached out to me about 2 years ago through mutual friends. We worked together to help a woman with stage 4 cancer get her electricity turned back on after it was shut off during the winter. I’ve been 100% supportive of Mike’s vision since then.”

Kimberly S. Reed

An award winning international speaker, author, corporate trainer and diversity, equality and inclusion executive, nationally recognized thought leader, expert, strategist and advisor to some of the world’s most influential organizations in global professional services, health care, financial services, consumer products and pharmaceutical industries.

Kimberly is a seasoned leader in transforming organizations into high-performing enterprises and challenging leaders to live without limits, with more than 20 years of HR, talent acquisition, and diversity & inclusion experience; successfully turning around troubled diversity practices by designing, building, leading, and shaping high-performing cultures at global organizations with robust strategies, global employee development programs and enterprise-wide initiatives that have increased revenue growth and organizational brand eminence.

Dr. Claudia Capparelli, PhD

Affiliations: Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center

Education: PhD, University of Calabria, Cosenza, Italy – 2011

Focus & Impact:  Focus on the role of the SOX10 transcription factor with regard to tumor cell heterogeneity and plasticity across multiple genotypes in melanoma. Investigating how SOX10 plasticity/heterogeneity affects the response to MEKi and anti-ErbB3 combinations in WT BRAF melanoma patients. 

Publications: Publications Link

Honors & Awards:

  • Legacy of Hope Merit Award

  • Outrun the Sun Melanoma Research Scholar Award

  • Unical Fellowship Visiting Scholar

  • International Pigment Cell Conference Travel Award

  • Best Poster Presentation, Ninth Annual Jefferson Post-doctoral Research

  • INPDAP Fellowship for Student Merit 

  • University of Calabria Fellowships for Student Merit 

Bryan Lathrop

Bio Coming Soon

Maree Lavo

Bio Coming Soon

Carol Sollenberger

Bio Coming Soon

Rebecca Blinn

Bio Coming Soon

Nia Andrews

Bio Coming Soon

Dr. Qing Chen, M.D., Ph.D.

Affiliations: The Wistar Institute, The Chen Laboratory, University of Maryland

Education: PhD,Immunology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, State University of New York at Buffalo (Dean’s Award for outstanding dissertation) – 2006

Focus & Impact:  Focus is on the molecular mechanisms of brain metastasis originating from primary tumors like breast cancer, and the interplay between cancer cells and the stromal cells that populate the brain microenvironment. 

Publications: Publications Link

Honors & Awards​:

  • Legacy of Hope Merit Award

  • Jayne Koskinas Ted Giovanis Foundation for Health and Policy Award

  • Susan G. Komen, CCR Basic/Translational and Clinical application

  • The V Foundation for Cancer Research Award

  • Dissertation Research Award, Susan Komen Breast Cancer Foundation 

Michael Rowe

Awards:

Volatile Media Management’s Mover, Shaker, Changemaker Award – February 2017

Miles Mack Community Services & Leadership Honorable Mention – 2016 TJUH Emergency Department Technician of the Year, Physicians Choice Award – 2015

TJUH Emergency Department Technician of the Year, Physicians Choice Award – 2014

Bio:

With his free time so limited, Michael manages to fuse his work with his other passion: running. Whether it is with the Fishtown Beer Runners, our own Team Relentless Hope, or his closest friends, Michael can often be spotted on the streets of Philadelphia keeping himself fit and active.