Lee Hosts Great Strides “Thank You” Luncheon Share Tweet Email LinkedIn 05/03/17 Top News University Wide All Inclusive Pictured here are (l to r) Willa and Bedford Smith, Team Nathan; David Dailey and Melissa Fisher, Garden Plaza; Lindsay Vest and Jeremy Gravelle, Life Care Center of Cleveland; Leigh Ellington; Shawna Wood, Mannah Berg and Amy Marona, Lee’s Student Leadership Council; Vanessa Hammond; and Dr. Mike Hayes.On Monday, April 24, Lee University hosted a luncheon to thank local sponsors and teams for supporting this year’s Great Strides and 65 Roses 5K benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Foundation. “Great Strides means adding days to my child's life,” said Amy Ownby, a CF parent. “There are no words to express what that means to a parent. The generous donations of all of the sponsors and all of the hard work that everyone involved with Great Strides does for Cystic Fibrosis is something that my husband and I will be forever grateful for.”More than 1,100 walkers, runners, and volunteers showed up on April 1 for the annual event, which brought in $79,122, bringing the grand total from hosting Great Strides over the past 17 years to $934,935. “The fundraising total this year was a wonderful success due to the continuing partnership between our community and our campus,” said Dr. Mike Hayes, co-chair of Great Strides and vice president of Student Development at Lee. “This is an expression of the relationship between the City with Spirit and a campus with heart.”Twenty-six corporate and community sponsors were recognized at the luncheon for contributing a combined total of $25,550 for the effort. Over 30 walk and race teams participated in the April 1 event, and each team leader was also recognized at the luncheon. Special recognition went to the top fundraising teams which included Moving Forward for Marykate, “Rookie of the Year” team, raising $2,340; Team Nathan, top CF family team, raising $4,710; Garden Plaza / Life Care Center of Cleveland, top corporate and community team, raising $6,960; and Student Leadership Council of Lee University, top campus team and overall top fundraising team, raising $7,969. “The Great Strides Walk and 65 Roses 5K is such a special day for our cystic fibrosis community,” said Leigh Ellington, senior development director for the CF Foundation in Tennessee. “The passion and determination of our volunteers, community sponsors, runners, walkers, and fundraising teams shows us that together we will find a cure for CF, and in the meantime do all that we can to continue adding more and better tomorrows for those battling the disease today. We are sincerely grateful for the love and support shown to our organization by everyone who has joined us over the years.” According to Vanessa Hammond, Great Strides co-chair, Lee University hopes to reach the $1 million mark at next year’s Great Strides event, scheduled for March 24, 2018.