Miles 4 Hope: A Run for Cancer
Inspired by former Lake Norman High School teacher Nilsa Maldonado’s courageous battle with terminal cancer, local model and athlete Richard Lima made an astounding pledge: he would attempt to run 100 miles in under 24 hours to raise awareness and money for Nilsa and her family. To organize the effort, Richard and his friend Lorrie Cassonas turned to Slick Events, an event planning and PR/marketing company – and the planning began.
But Nilsa had a request: “There are a lot of people out there that need help…children are so special, and these kids haven’t even really started their lives. I’ve had my time,” she said. Nilsa asked that the money raised go to help families and kids suffering with cancer. Slick Events enlisted The Sandbox, a Charlotte non-profit that provides support for children and families at Levine Children’s Hospital.
Miles 4 Hope was established, and sponsors quickly came on board. Angela Sneed of Advanced Athletic Training Solutions became Richard’s personal trainer, Advanced Spinal Fitness offered adjustments, Ahlara International Wellness provided massages, and Charlotte Running Company gave him shoes. Other sponsors like Directions USA Model & Artist Management, Kenneth Bealer Homes, Lake Norman Eye Care, Julie Abernathy Design, Dodiehair and M.D. Laser Studio offered additional support. Tasteful Solutions created nutritionally sound snacks for the journey, and University Nissan of Boone provided a pace car.
Team Lima gathered at Directions USA midday on Friday, October 28. Starr and Link Kiser manned the pace care, with Coral Riley and Richard’s wife, Andrea, serving as his nurse and safety team. The weather was not ideal: windy, rainy and cold. But Richard endured, and covered the first 40 miles in 7½ hours. Around 11:00 pm, Richard’s trainer Angela Snead joined the team to treat a pulled leg muscle. Temperatures dropped to near freezing as wind and rain worsened throughout the night.
With the heart of a champion Richard persevered through miserable conditions. But after completing over 70 grueling miles, Andrea made the difficult decision to end the run, and Team Lima took Richard to Rowan Regional Medical Center where he was treated for hypothermia, severe dehydration, and low blood sugar.
Supporters gathered at Lowe’s YMCA early Saturday afternoon to join Richard for the victory lap. As the children in the crowd ran ahead, Richard waited to escort Nilsa Maldonado over the finish line. The event culminated with an emotional ceremony as Richard promised to continue running Miles 4 Hope.
Proceeds from the run are being used in the next week to buy gifts for children at Levine Children’s Hospital. Watch for news, check this website, and follow Slick Events as Miles 4 Hope grows to a Livestrong event in the near future!