Better Together

Freddy Mahugu, Felisha Harris

Legacy of Hope is proud to sponsor Wynnefield Track Club (WTC) co-founders, Freddy Mahugu and Felisha Harris, for the 2022 Love Run Half Marathon. Wynnefield is likely the hardest working run club in Philly. This friendly multinational crew hits the pavement every day at 5:30am, except Saturday—when they afford themselves the luxury of “sleeping in” for a 6am start time. Weekday runs usually have six to ten core members, with as many as 15 or 20 for long runs on Saturdays. But don’t let their dedication intimidate you. “We’re very much runners at all levels, from all walks of life…” emphasizes Mahugu “…you really see this on long-run Saturdays. It’s legitimately all faces, all paces. Even when we do our structured workouts on the track, you can learn new things in a fun environment.”

Wynnefield Track Club was established in 2020 after two groups in the Philly running community coalesced into a larger group at the suggestion of Mahugu. Harris elaborates a bit more on the history: “the group I was running with, we called ourselves Team UN, because we had people from all over the world— Kenya and Nigeria, Jamaica, Philippines, England, Vietnam, Cameroon—and I was the only person from the United States.” The other group had members from New Freedom Striders who have been running together in Philly for 30+ years. So the history goes deep with this crew.

The club’s motto Better Together, evolved from the idea of strength through unity. “We’re a community/family supporting each other on our journey to improve fitness and have a healthy lifestyle.” explains Mahugu. A perfect example of living their motto is when several WTC teammates traveled to NYC last November to surprise Mahugu, cheering him on, at mile 23 of the NY Marathon. Another example is Mahugu’s Plant-Based Monday initiative to help more people start living a healthy lifestyle, beginning with a commitment to one plant-based meal a week. (Check the link above for more details.)

Born in Nairobi, Kenya, a son of foreign affairs diplomats, Mahugu has lived in Kenya, Australia, Zambia, NYC and eventually settled in Philly after running the 2010 Philly Marathon and falling in love with Philadelphia. He typically runs about 50 miles a week, and bumps that up to 65-75 miles when training for a marathon (of which he has run several world majors). While often cited as the leader of WTC, Mahugu quickly (and humbly) notes that “We all play a big role in leading the club.

“We’re excited to support Legacy of Hope, because cancer is something we’ve all been affected by in some capacity, whether it be our immediate, extended family or friends. I connected with Legacy after seeing their different initiatives to support the local community—,the PHL24 stair climb, Earn Your Break running all 109 miles of the Schuylkill River Trail—you can’t help but jump on board, that’s why as a club we’re there to support them.”

Teammate Harris is a longtime runner; she “started in 6th grade tryin to beat the boys.” A mid-distance runner in high school and college, she’s now a seasoned marathoner, thanks in part to getting called out by a 15 year old when she was volunteering for ,Students Run Philly Style. Harris was wearing the green armband (for folks who had decided to run the half marathon) when a student approached her and asked “why aren’t you wearing the blue [full marathon] armband?!?” Harris tried to play it off telling the student “I’ve already run a marathon, besides there are no more blue armbands.” Not missing a beat the 15 year old replied, “It’s okay, you can have mine.” Harris bit the bullet, and committed to get herself into marathon shape. She’s been running marathons consistently ever since. These days she’s logging 35-40 miles weekly and prepping for a 50 miler.

Harris discovered Legacy of Hope when she happened upon the PHL24 last September. She introduced herself to Mike Rowe and committed to participate. She has lost multiple relatives to cancer, including her brother. “I hate cancer! I know what it’s like, trying to work and take care of your sibling with your parents. It was a really tough time. Whatever we can do to help cure cancer, or help families fighting cancer process; it’s absolutely necessary.”

Support ,Freddy and/or ,Felisha at this year’s Love Run. Wynnefield Track Club supports Legacy of Hope, and as an official training partner of the Philadelphia Love Run is working with them to raise $250,000 to provide emergency support for Philadelphia cancer patients. If you want to run with Freddy and Felisha, register at ,www.PhillyRunsFree.com; if you raise $250 for Legacy of Hope your registration is free!

Join Wynnefield Track Club this Saturday, February 26th, at 6am for a Love Run Training session! Meet in the parking lot by Lloyd hall (by the azalea garden). There will be options for all levels: a 5 mile route, an 8.5 mile route, and a 10+ mile route.

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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.