We received a $10,000 Cox Charities grant from Cox Communications, enabling us to continue our work supporting youth education in the community! Hopecam would like to thank Cox Communications for selecting us as a 2016-2017 Cox Charities Grant recipient. Congratulations to all of our fellow 2016-2017 Cox Charities grant recipients and a huge thank you Cox Communications! $150,000 total given in support of youth education in Virginia. We are proud to be a 2016-2017 recipient.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lara Shane, 703-740-7837 email@example.com
GRUELING 3,000 MILE BIKE RACE IS “RACE FOR HOPE” BENEFITTING KIDS WITH CANCER
Reston, Va. – Len Forkas, a Reston-based entrepreneur, will once again tackle the grueling ultra-cycling challenge, Race Across America (RAAM), to raise money for Hopecam, a nonprofit he founded to help children undergoing cancer treatment stay virtually connected to their classmates, friends and support networks.
“Last year Hopecam hit the milestone of connecting its 1,000th child. My goal between now and June is to raise $1 million dollars so that we can help 1,000 more kids,” Forkas said. “Racing RAAM helps me raise nationwide awareness about childhood cancer and the help Hopecam provides.”
Despite RAAM’s excruciating demands, Forkas says his hardest journey started in 2002, when his son Matt was diagnosed with Leukemia at age nine.
“When Matt got sick, he went through so much physically and emotionally. The best advice we received was to help Matt feel like a normal kid while he endured treatment,” Forkas said. “Since Matt’s compromised immune system kept him out of school and away from his friends, he grew lonely and depressed. At the toughest time in his life, when he needed his friends the most, he was stuck at home undergoing treatment. We came up with the idea of connecting him virtually, using webcams at school and at home. ”
In 2003, witnessing the positive effects Matt’s friends and classmates had on his recovery, Forkas founded Hopecam to help other kids undergoing cancer connect to their support networks. Since then, Hopecam has helped more than 1,000 children connect to 10,000 classmates in 46 states. Forkas turned to exercise to cope with the stress of his son’s illness. By competing in ultra endurance races, he has raised more than $1 million in sponsorship contributions.
The RAAM is one of the longest annual endurance events in the world, spanning 3,089 miles over the Rocky Mountains, through the desert and over the Appalachians. From California to Maryland, it is about 1,000 miles longer than the Tour de France and has to be completed in half the time. The bicycle race is also unique because there are no stages; cyclists rest only as needed, averaging 18-20 hours on the bike per day. The race must be completed in 12 days for solo riders. The 2017 RAAM begins Tuesday, June 13. Based on the race’s 35-year history, only half of solo riders will make it to the finish line.
Forkas successfully completed RAAM in 2012 when he was 52 years old, winning his age division and coming in 10th overall out of 47 cyclists from 20 countries. Leading up to the race he raised $300,000 for Hopecam. He dedicated each day of his ride to a child with cancer being helped by Hopecam.
“As hard as the race was, I knew the pain I was experiencing wasn’t anything compared to what these kids endure for months or years, and that kept me going,” Forkas said.
“Hopecam was founded before Skype and Facetime were invented. Our technology and interactions with schools were immensely important to helping kids who were feeling isolated and depressed,” Forkas noted. “While technology advances have made it easier for kids today to stay connected, Hopecam is committed to helping those who can’t afford those solutions.” Seventy percent of the children Hopecam helps attend “Title One” schools, meaning the majority of students need assistance and are entitled to receive subsidized meals. Half of them receive treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Hopecam now provides tablets with built-in webcams and Internet access, for kids who don’t have them. The nonprofit also liaises with the child’s school to establish a regular connection so he or she can participate in classroom activities and see and talk with their friends.
“This connection is invaluable for the child in recovery, but it is also a lesson for the other children in the class. They learn a lot about empathy and it removes some of the mystery of the illness when their classmate is gone,” Forkas said.
Each year, approximately 15,000 children in the United States are diagnosed with cancer, and more than 40,000 undergo treatment for cancer.
Today, Forkas’ son Matt is a graduate of Stetson University in Florida. He works in the real-estate industry, lives in Arlington, Virginia and is completely cancer free.
Len Forkas is the founder and CEO of Milestone Communications, a wireless tower company based in Reston, Virginia. He is also the founder and chairman of Hopecam, a nonprofit that helps kids undergoing cancer treatment stay connected to their classmates, friends and support networks. In 2014, he authored, “What Spins the Wheel,” a book about the leadership lessons he gained from his Race Across America. To schedule an interview with Forkas, please contact Lara Shane, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join us for Hopecam's 17th Annual 5K Run/Walk is on May 7, 2017 at 8:00am in Reston, VA
On June 13, 2017, Hopecam's Founder, Len Forkas will compete in Race Across America. A 3,089 mile, 12 day solo cross country bike ride to raise 1 Million Dollars for Hopecam. Follow Len in his "Race for Hope" as he prepares and trains to compete next Summer. https://www.facebook.com/Raceforhopecam/
Seeks to Raise $1,000,000, Starting with Fundraiser on October 20 in Tysons Corner
Reston, Virginia – October 10, 2016 – Hopecam, an organization dedicated to helping children battling cancer overcome social isolation during their treatment, marks this month with the connection of 1,000 children to their school friends since its founding in 2003. Including children, teachers and family members, the organization is estimated to have impacted over 10,000 people with a program that can help healing for patients, lighten the burden for families and encourage empathy among classmates.
Among the first side effects a child may experience after being diagnosed with cancer is isolation.
With tablet computers, web cameras and high-speed Internet, Hopecam provides the equipment and IT support to connect children with their classmates and teachers.
“Providing a child with a Hopecam tablet has the potential to mitigate the impact of social isolation. School is what children do. Connecting children to their peers while in treatment provides needed ‘hope,’” said Hopecam board member, Carol J. Kaffenberger, Ph.D., Associate Professor Emerita, George Mason University.
The organization has thrived over the last 13 years, raising over $2 million since its start in the greater Washington, DC area. Hopecam has now worked with 250 school systems in 44 states, with 70% of its programs serving children attending Title 1 schools.
“Over 15,000 children a year are diagnosed with cancer. Our goal is to never have to say NO to a child that wants to connect with their classmates”. Len Forkas, Founder Hopecam
To reach its goals of doubling in size and serving all 50 states, Hopecam is holding its major annual fundraiser on Thursday, October 20. The Give Hope, Get Connected! Celebration will be hosted at the Silverline Center at 7900 Westpark Drive, in Tysons Corner, Virginia from 6:00pm to 9:30pm. The event features heavy hors oeuvres with dishes inspired by the home states and countries of Hopecam children, drinks and FUN! Tickets to the event are $150 per person. Donations in lieu of attendance may also be made. For more information and to register, visit: https://www.501auctions.com/hopecam2016
Hopecam is a 501c3 organization that connects homebound children undergoing treatment for cancer, and other life-threatening illnesses with their friends at school using mobile tablets, high speed internet connections and web cameras. Recognizing the critical need for socialization, Hopecam seeks to bridge the lonely divide between homebound children and their friends at school during this frightening time. Staying connected to school significantly reduces the stress of re–entry when treatment is completed and children resume a normal life. Since its founding in 2003 by a parent whose child was diagnosed with leukemia, Hopecam has connected 1,000 children with their friends, classmates and families. For more information, visit www.hopecam.org
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Washington, DC. has awarded Hopecam with a grant of $4,800 to help local children get connected!
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Washington, DC (RMHC DC) eases the hardship of children’s illness on families through programs that help children heal faster, cope better, and stay healthy. Hopecam is happy to partner with Ronald McDonald House and we truly appreciate their continued and generous support of our program.
Thank you Ronald McDonald House Charities for helping Hopecam put smiles on children's faces!
Thank you all who came out for our Hopecam 5K this year! Despite the soggy, wet day, we had over 400 race participants and raised over $40,000 to help children with cancer!
Despite the weather, the race was kicked off by Ben, a Hopecam child, greeting the crowd and talking about his experiences with our program. His Hopecam tablet allowed him to keep contact with his classmates, and even participate in events like historical dress up day. He also goes back to school for the first time on Monday!
We had a record turnout of children this year for the race, as 2016 was the most kid friendly race we have hosted. The top male finisher 16 and the top female finisher was 10! Thank you to all our runners who came out and participated!
As for our corporate teams and sponsors, we want to thank each one for supporting us and turning out. The largest team award went to Team Cooley, with 42 members registered! The top fundraising team was Booz Allen Hamilton, who also had a great turnout of 37 members.
Thanks again to all those who attended and helped make this event possible, and we hope to see you again next year!
Are you looking to change careers? Re-enter the workforce? Find out whether you might enjoy non-profit work? Seeking a way to give back during retirement?
Hopecam is accepting applications for part-time unpaid internships from adults with work experience. Successful applicants will make a 4-month commitment and agree to work a minimum of 8 hours per week. After initial training and experience, some work from home may be possible.
Open Positions include:
- Publicity and Marketing for Hopecam Founder Len Forkas’ speaking and book tour. Please see www.whatspinsthewheel.com (1 position)
- Fundraising & Development (1 position)
- Grant Writing and Research (1 position)
- Event Planning (1 position)
- Family and School Liaison (5 positions)
In addition to gaining experience and brushing up skills, you will receive resume assistance, interview coaching, networking opportunities and references.
Successful candidates must have working knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook.
Please e-mail resume and cover letter to email@example.com. No phone calls please.
Normally these Northern Virginia businesses compete for clients and customers, but at the Hopecam 5k, they’ll compete to see which can run the fastest, raise the most money or register the most participants to help children with cancer. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the race and the first time that Hopecam has added a team competition to create awareness among the community.
Companies such as Booz Allen Hamilton, Cooley, Salesforce.com, Baker Tilly, Bernstein Global Wealth Management, National Association of Manufacturers, Avizia, BDO, TiE DC, Savi Technology, Deloitte, christopher consultants, PCCW Global and Avalon Bay are all participating in the competition this year to help promote Hopecam and their goal of helping to connect more children this year.
Executive Director of Hopecam Susan Koehler explains, “15,780 children will be diagnosed with cancer this year. Nearly every one of these children will have to be isolated from their friends and unable to attend school as a result of their treatment. Today, thanks to technology, this isolation can be overcome by giving the child a tablet computer and persuading schools to establish a connection with the hospitalized and homebound child. Hopecam is the only charity in the United States providing these services to children with cancer. It's no wonder that in 2014, Hopecam was asked to help six-times the number of children as the year before. 2015 will be no different and we are well on our way to helping 700 children, if not more, before year's end.”
Sponsors of the race are Booz Allen Hamilton, Elm Street Development, Bridge Builder Tax & Legal Services, P.A., NB+C, JBGR, Teltronic Towers, The McLean Group, Cooley LLP and Savi Technology. Trader Joe's will be there to volunteer and deliver treats to hungry runners, while Ali Khaligh of Your Dream Shots Photography and Scene 2 B Scene will capture the action of the race and donate photography services. Nicole Fine of Nicole Fine Photography is also making a donation of services as Team Photographer. Water donations were kindly given by Cardinal Bank and Wheat's Landscape.
It costs about $1,000 to connect each child. About 12% of the children live in homes unable to afford Internet, which Hopecam provides at a cost of $500 per year. 70% of the children attend schools eligible for Title 1 (low income) financing.
The Hopecam 5K is a USATF certified race-fast and flat for those wanting to set a personal best record. This is also the perfect race for families featuring an easy course for runners and walkers of all ages and fitness levels. This fun, family event is also stroller friendly.
The 15th Annual Hopecam 5k Race/Walk will take place on Sunday, May 3rd at 1890 Preston White Drive in Reston, VA. The race will start at 8:15am with registration starting at 7:30am. Participants can register online at https://prracing.enmotive.com/events/register/54db6f86-ffac-4793-bffe-20edc0a86526.