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Charity Spotlight

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon inspires millions and no segment of runners accomplishes that feat better than those running for charity. The Chicago Marathon is proud to partner with a number of amazing charitable organizations that are building teams of fund-raising runners for this year’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

Each month, the Charity Spotlight will feature one of these organizations and the local, national and international causes they represent.

October: Bright Pink
September: Opportunity Enterprises
August: Ronald McDonald House Charities
July: Chicago Diabetes Project
June: Harley Helping Hands
May: Advocate Health Care

Bright PinkTeam-Bright-Pink

In the two years that Bright Pink has participated in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, 118 runners have raised $191,000 to fuel Bright Pink’s mission focused on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women, while providing support for high-risk individuals.

Founded in 2007 by Lindsay Avner, this Chicago-based non-profit has become a national organization that provides education and support programs for young women, empowering them to live a proactive lifestyle. Bright Pink offers interactive online tools, one-on-one peer support systems, and Emerging Medical Professional Training Workshops to educate internal medicine and OBGYN residents. Bright Pink’s programs provide young women with the knowledge and support needed to assess their risk for breast and ovarian cancer and develop a proactive strategy for risk-reduction and early detection of these diseases.

As the only national nonprofit organization of its kind, the funds raised by Team Bright Pink at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon support the expansion of its community network throughout the U.S. Currently equipping and empowering a national community of 50,000 young women between the ages of 18 and 45, Bright Pink aims to expand its reach even further. The Chicago Marathon is an opportunity for Bright Pink to not only raise funds, but to spread awareness to and encourage life-saving action of young women.

In its third year at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Team Bright Pink proudly introduced a mentoring program that provides past runners with the opportunity to stay involved with the team by providing guidance to new team members, thereby creating engagement with this community beyond training and racing.

Learn more about Bright Pink and how to brighten up with your breast and ovarian health today at Get on the Team Bright Pink mailing list for 2014 races year by emailing

Opportunity Enterprises

Since 1967, Opportunity Enterprises (OE) has worked to maximize self-sufficiency and enrich the quality of life for individuals with disabilities. Programs supported by the non-profit include early intervention, residential, on-site and community-based employment, day habilitation, respite, and enrichment programs.

This year, OE is proud to celebrate its 15th year with the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. To date, the OE Marathon Team has had more than 3,000 runners from around the world who have raised over $1.5 million. Funds raised by the OE Marathon Team support many different programs, all of which are located at Opportunity Enterprises in Valparaiso, Indiana.

Money raised at the 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon benefitted the All About Kids Early Intervention Program. Specifically, money was used to purchase much-needed equipment for the program, such as standers, positioning seats, and tumble forms, which help babies who have developmental delays from birth through age three receive in-home therapies.

In addition to equipment, funds also provided play group scholarships, which allow children ages two and three who cannot otherwise afford it to participate in therapist-led playgroups. Fifty percent of the children who receive therapy services through All About Kids no longer need special education services after they graduate from the program.

In 2013, OE hopes to have a team of 300 runners at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and is working toward a fundraising goal of $400,000.

To learn more about Opportunity Enterprises visit

RMHCRonald McDonald
House Charities

Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®) launched Team RMHC at the 2006 Bank of America Chicago Marathon with 32 runners, raising $39,000. Since then, the team has grown to more than 400 runners and has raised more than $2 million.

The mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities® is to create, find and support programs that directly improve the health and wellbeing of children. Through its global network of chapters in 57 countries and regions, Ronald McDonald House Charities provides stability and resources to families so they can get and keep their children healthy and happy. All of the programs supported and operated by RMHC provide a bridge to quality health care and give children and their families the time they need together to heal faster and cope better.

In 2012, Team RMHC was comprised of 439 runners raising more than $706,000. The funds raised through the 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon enabled RMHC to serve more than 10,000 children and their families through programs like the Ronald McDonald House. RMHC and its Chapters support children as they run their own marathon: fighting disease, illness and injury, and persevering through months or even years of hospital visits, surgeries and outpatient recovery.

Because of the success of Team RMHC, the organization has been able to use the Bank of Chicago Marathon as a springboard for other team fundraising efforts. Through its Group Give platform, RMHC has been able to garner increased donations from corporate partners and individual contributors.

In 2013, Team RMHC has a fundraising goal of $850,000. To learn how you can help them reach their goal and for more information on how to join Team RMHC visit

CDPChicago Diabetes Project

2013 marks the 5-year anniversary of the Chicago Diabetes Project team, Cellmates On The Run, participating in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Over the last four years, Team Cellmates has averaged more than 175 runners and has raised over $1 million in support of a functional cure for Type 1 diabetes.

The goal of Team Cellmates is to let diabetics live without fear of blindness, stroke, heart attack, kidney failure or loss of a limb. 100% of money raised by Team Cellmates goes directly toward funding clinical trials and future research.

Based at the University of Illinois Hospital, the Chicago Diabetes Project has developed a functional cure for diabetes through islet cell transplantation, freeing over 29 patients from insulin dependence.

For many members of Team Cellmates, Type 1 diabetes is a daily reality. Running 26.2 miles is nothing compared to the struggles they face everyday managing this terrible disease. Last year, five patients participated in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon to show their gratitude and support to the Chicago Diabetes Project for making them insulin free.

The Chicago Diabetes Project has even higher goals for 2013, with its largest team to date and a goal of raising $300,000 for a functional cure. Join Team Cellmates and help OUTRUN DIABETES this year. With your support, you can help the Chicago Diabetes Project reach its goal of curing this disease as fast as possible.

Note: Registered participants are asked to set a goal of raising $500 each, participants registering for the race through the Chicago Diabetes Project are asked to achieve a $1000 goal.

For more information or to join Team Cellmates, visit or write

DSC_2068Harley Helping Hands

The Harley Helping Hands Foundation was established in 2009 with the mission of positively impacting the lives of adults battling brain cancer. The development of the foundation was inspired by Kit Harley’s courageous three-year battle against brain cancer. Throughout Kit’s fight, his extended family and friends saw the financial and emotional burden that the disease brought to his family. In helping Kit, his supporters asked themselves, of the 22,738 people diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor each year, how many of them need financial help and how can we help?

The answer was to develop an organization to honor Kit’s strength and keep his fight alive by helping others during their fight.

This year marks the first year that Harley Helping Hands is participating in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon charity program. The team currently has 30 runners and has already raised $15,000 toward its goal of $30,000.

Funds raised through this year’s race will go directly to Chicago area families to help support them in the battle against brain cancer. The organization uses money raised to fulfill grant requests that are received on a weekly basis. Since its founding in 2009, Harley Helping Hands has issued over $280,000 in financial grants to brain cancer fighters.

If you are interested in joining the Harley Helping Hands 2013 marathon team please contact or to learn more visit

Advocate_CSAdvocate Health Care

Since 2011, Advocate Health Care, the largest health system in Illinois and one of the largest health care providers in the Midwest, has been raising funds through the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. In the last two years, the charity team has topped $250,000 in donations.

As a non-profit organization, Advocate Health Care relies on charitable gifts to enhance the experience of each patient they treat. Every dollar donated is used to provide a margin of excellence that operating income alone cannot ensure. Enabling hospitals to acquire state-of-the-art equipment, offer ancillary services and provide ongoing education for caregivers, philanthropy makes Advocate’s care more accessible, more advanced, more comprehensive and more compassionate for tens of thousands of community members each year.

A unique feature of Advocate Health Care’s marathon team is that each participant is able to select an Advocate hospital or unique program as the beneficiary of their fundraising efforts. In the first two years, 170 runners directed their fundraising to 50 different Advocate funds. These included child life programs, which provide physical and emotional support to hospitalized children and their families; equipment funds, which enable hospitals to purchase state-of-the-art technologies that provide the latest tools for diagnosis and treatments; and the Adult Down Syndrome Center, which provides comprehensive care to adolescents and adults with Down syndrome.

In 2013, the Advocate Health Care team has a fundraising goal of $100,000 and hopes to have 100 runners fundraising in support of a variety of hospitals and programs. To learn more about Advocate Health Care and to see how you can become involved with the 2013 marathon team, visit

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