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Race for Hope Focuses on Children in KC and Around the World

Although the May 16, KC Northland Race for Hope is about running and exercise, it’s also a tale of local people who want to help children throughout the region and around the world.

Much of the story involves Rachel and Gary Chaney, a Kearney couple whose volunteer work in Haiti and Zambia are leading them to lengths that some may find extreme. For them, it’s literally a calling.

The two—she’s a nurse and he’s a nurse practitioner—began volunteering for two weeks each year in Haiti about the time their now seven-year-old daughter was born. Through Rachel’s mother, who is president of All God’s Children Clinic of Hope in Zambia, they have begun stints there more recently.

“We just saw the need,” Rachel Chaney says today. “They asked us to do a healthcare mission, basically a ‘suitcase medicine clinic.’ We thought, ‘Why not?’”

The idea of an organized run to raise funds was Gary’s. “He’s been a runner in the past and saw the clinic’s work for orphans and children as a natural,” she said, noting the clinic’s region in Zambia has one of the largest populations of orphans in the world.

A year ago, the couple sat down with a small group to brainstorm. Among them was Craig Williams, a Liberty resident and avid runner, who noted that the Northland has yet to host its own major half-marathon. Williams also suggested additional charities related to children, including the Kansas City Police Athletic League (PAL) and the Northland Early Childhood Education Center. Rachel also suggested Feed Northland Kids, which she had worked with through her church.

“We wanted to have a focus,” Chaney explained. “I grew up going to Northland schools, and my sister is a North Kansas City School District teacher. The more vulnerable the children are, the more I want to help.”

Organizing the event has been daunting, but it’s, again, only part of the story. Williams is dreaming of hosting a larger event next year, a full marathon, and the Chaneys are planning to move to Zambia in August. Together with their children, Leah, 7, and Luke, 5, they will stay until a new clinic is completed.

“This is the first time I’ve bought one-way tickets,” she laughed. “We’re committed until the clinic is built, but someone’s already donated a well. We’ll just see how long it takes.”

The Kansas City Northland Race for Hope will begin at Sam’s Club near Highway 152 and Flintlock Road at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, May 16. Courses include the half marathon, a 5K and a 50-yard “Hero Dash” for children. Both children and adults are encouraged to dress in their favorite superhero costumes. More information is available at www.raceforhopekc.com.

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Rachel Chaney (right) is a Kearney nurse who is organizing the May 16 Race for Hope Kansas City to raise funds for needy children, including those who use a clinic in Zambia where she has worked and plans to reside beginning in August.

 

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Gary Chaney of Kearney relaxed a moment with one of his patients during a recent visit to All God’s Children Clinic of Hope in Zambia. Chaney, a nurse practitioner, will move there with his family in August, after he and his wife finish organizing the Kansas City Race For Hope May 16.

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