Hardy souls unite

The inaugural Love Run Philadelphia Half Marathon (Love Run Philly), held on March 30, 2014, with its torrential, wind-driven rain, sub-50º temperatures, and sold out crowd, stands as a testament to the hardiness of Philly’s runners (and Philly’s grit in general). It ranks among the top inaugural half marathons in the country, boasting the rare distinction of selling out as a first time race. For running fanatics in Philadelphia, and even beyond, it’s hard to imagine our city without Love Run Philly because, in just eight years, the race has become a veritable institution, as well as a crowd favorite. The race originated around nine years ago, when Michele and Larry Redrow found themselves asking “Why doesn’t Philly have a half marathon in the spring!?” And thus were sown the seeds for the ,Love Run Philadelphia Half Marathon.

Both Michele and Larry have competed in distance runs and triathlons for decades; and their love for the sport led them to start ,CGI Racing in 1991, over 30 years ago. They’ve been managing half marathons and triathlons—including the, NJ State Triathlon and the ,Rutgers Unite Half Marathon—ever since, adding Love Run Philly to CGI’s race roster in 2014.

“It was one of those situations where the idea just came to us and we were like, that’s it! We went to the City and secured a permit—which was extremely difficult to get—for a specific date in the spring. We sat down and started brainstorming ideas for names and the Love Run Philadelphia Half Marathon came to us. We thought that’s the perfect name…perfect for the City…perfect kickoff to the Spring. It’s everything you love about Philly and running.” says Michele, letting her genuine passion for Philly show. Love Run’s numbers bear this out. In its first year, the Love Run Philly sold out at 10,000 participants. It has sold out every year since—with the exception of 2021 when the race was canceled, thanks to COVID.

Sold out races are a great thing, especially when race directors, like the Redrows, are socially conscious and feel a responsibility to give back. And that they have. Over the years CGI has made more than $500,000 in donations to charitable causes. More specifically, Michele understands the importance of funding projects to research and find cures for cancer, because her mother passed away from breast cancer some 30 years ago. She mentions the amazing evolution and effectiveness that has occurred in cancer treatment since her mother passed, stressing that “we need to keep that going and moving forward.”

Love Run’s connection with Legacy of Hope goes back to the race’s inaugural year, before Legacy of Hope was even formed. Michele states “One of the biggest things we’ve encouraged with Love Run Philly, and something that has really taken off, is teams. Teams bring energy to the race. Mike Rowe was on one of the very first teams—11th Hour Racing—and I got to know him very well.” Rowe had started 11th Hour Racing as a non-profit when he was working at Jefferson Health in the ER. 11th Hour Racing was fiscally sponsored by Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center and was doing work similar to what Legacy of Hope does today, but on a much smaller scale.

“Mike came to us a lot for direction on building teams—the teams get a lot of great perks. Since he was new, he was bouncing a lot of ideas off us, which we loved; we shared his ideas with other teams.” Within a few years, Rowe fine tuned his efforts and had formed Legacy of Hope. Then he met with Michele and Larry again and told them about his idea for Philly Runs Free.

Michele recalls, “We’d had national charities wanting to partner with us, but we thought it was important to do something locally that would impact Philadelphia and our community, and Legacy of Hope feels more like home to us.”

Rowe, who has run in every Love Run since its inception, feels much the same way. “Love Run is my favorite race, it’s all about Philly, and so is Legacy of Hope.”

Consequently, 2019 marked the official start of ,Philly Runs Free—the partnership between Love Run Philly and Legacy of Hope. The idea is simple and effective: runners raise $250 or more for Legacy of Hope and they race for free. Rowe cites the $250 mark as an incentive “because it’s a low threshold, as far as fundraising for races goes. Once a runner raises $250 for Legacy of Hope, their entire registration is refunded. The major difference between Philly Runs Free and other race/charity partnerships is that you can be part of whatever team you want, and still race free. That’s an important factor because over 150 teams were registered in the first Love Run. Other races force you to join their designated charity team and wear their colors to race free. The most important part of our partnership is how easy we make it for folks to help cancer patients avoid losing their home or going hungry.” To date—even with the havoc wrought by COVID for two years—Philly Runs Free has raised over $260,000 to help fulfill Legacy of Hope’s mission that no family should lose their home or go without food because a loved one is fighting cancer, and no promising cancer research should go unfunded.

2022 was a big deal for the Love Run Philly, marking its long anticipated comeback from the pandemic, which tempered their team with the knowledge that, if they can make it through this, they can make it through anything—very similar to that character-building inaugural Love Run. Michele shares that “We always say we’re blessed that through the years we’ve been able to change so many people’s lives every day. Some people think it’s just a race, but it’s not really. When you see people finish and you hear some of their stories, you realize that this is bigger than running.”

Michele’s sentiment couldn’t be more accurate. Love Run Philly is about much more than just running; and Philly Runs Free is an easy, healthy vehicle to bring positive change to our city. Let’s set a new record in 2023 for the most Philly Runs Free participants: 1000! Register to run the Love Run Philly in 2023 for free – sign up today at ,Philly Runs Free.

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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 

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 

Nia Andrews

Bio Coming Soon

Rebecca Blinn

Bio Coming Soon

Carol Sollenberger

Bio Coming Soon

Maree Lavo

Bio Coming Soon

Bryan Lathrop

Bio Coming Soon

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.

Michele Redrow

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

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.”

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.”

David April

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

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.

greg garber

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

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.”

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.