• Running Around the World to Help Kenyan Kids

    By Deanna Del Ciello
    The Port Times Record
    April 18, 2013

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    Ed Hyshiver, center, with Joy Gakii and Jackson Mutea, two Kenyan children who are part of the sponsorship program set up by Hope Children’s Fund. Photo from Ed Hyshiver.

    Long Islanders are racing once again to give Kenyan street children a better future, and this time one Port Jefferson resident will be running with the Kenyans.

    Hope Children’s Fund, which helps AIDS-affected orphans in Meru, Kenya, will host its ninth annual Bi-Continental 5K Run/Walk on April 28 at Shoreham-Wading River High School. 

    The local race, which starts at 9 am, runs simultaneously to a race in Kenya, where it will be 4 pm.  The group compares runners times in America and Africa and has trophies for the winners.

    The nonprofit, established in 2002, holds the race as a show of solidarity between those in the United States and those in Kenya.  Runners on Long Island also pay a $25 entry fee, which goes toward supporting the organization.

    Hope Children’s Fund founder Larry Hohler estimated the run brought in between $5,000 and $8,000 last year and has raised about $20,000 since it began.

    Ed Hyshiver, an HCF board member, has been participating in the run at Shoreham for approximately six years.  This year, however, he will be participating from Kenya for the first time.

    “I usually take an annual trip there,” Hyshiver, from Port Jefferson, said.  He became involved in the organization about 10 years ago, when his friend and neighbor, Hohler, told him about it.  This year, his trip is around the time of the Bi-Continental race, and he will extend his stay to run with the Kenyans. 

    Hyshiver’s interest in the organization stemmed from his professional life – he spent a majority of his time in AIDS education at the Smithtown High School.  Now his reach is international.

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    Kenyans run in the Bi-Continental race last year. File photo by Patrick Muthuri.

    “It’s extremely rewarding,” Hyshiver said of his work with HCF, which operates an orphanage in Meru that helps give Aids-affected Kenyan orphans a chance at an education and college.

    Hyshiver said his work with the children in the orphanage has been an experience of a lifetime.

    They give you more than you give them,” he said.  “They have such a sense of what’s real in the world and what’s important.”

    While in Kenya, Hyshiver will be involved with different projects for Hope Children’s Fund, including working with Stony Brook University School of Medicine students to give the orphans physicals.

    “I’ll be doing stuff with the environment, stuff with classrooms.  There will be some hanging out and teaching the kids,” he said.

    Hyshiver said he is excited to participate in the run for the first time in Kenya, but it’s really helping the children the organization benefits that he finds most rewarding.

    “They have so much joy, they’re not afraid to show it,” Hyshiver said.  “They’re thankful and gracious for what people give them.  So that’s a lesson in itself.”

    Visit www.hopechildrensfund.com for more information on the run or to donate.

     

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