The Nikolas Ritschel Foundation (NRF) is gearing up for its principal fundraising event, the 5th Annual Nik’s Home Run, set to take place Saturday, October 15. Race day will feature a 7K race, a 1.5 Mile walk, and a giant silent auction.
The race will take place at Rockford Rivet’s stadium and each runner will have chance to finish the race crossing home plate. After the race, there will be a speeches from patients who have benefitted from NRF’s work. With over 100 items available, the silent auction will wrap up after the race. Last year, the event drew nearly 500 runners, walkers, and volunteers.
“Nik’s Home Run isn’t just for runners or fitness enthusiasts,” Kelli Ritschel Boehle, Executive Director, NRF, said, “There is opportunity for the whole family with our 1.5 mile walk and a truly incredible silent auction that has garnered really positive reviews in the past.”
The race marks a five year anniversary of NRF’s first major step towards helping young adult cancer patients through enrichment opportunities such as vacations, trips, and special moments. What started out as small race to honor the memory of Nikolas Ritchsel, a Rockford native who lost his four-year battle with cancer at 21, has turned in a successful foundation helping 50 patients since its inception.
“NRF is serving a population that is often forgotten,” Ritschel Boehle said. “The race is our main fundraising event, but more importantly, it’s a way to recognize and celebrate young adults arguably going through the toughest challenges of their lives.”
According to the National Cancer Institute, the desire for a sense of normalcy in the face of illness is typical of adolescents and young adults affected by cancer, who face myriad psychosocial challenges ranging from emotional to financial. The work of the NRF aims to bridge that gap.