Cancer fundraiser inspires Hope

October 19, 2009|By JANET HEIM

HAGERSTOWN -- From her freshly dyed pink hair down to her hot pink socks, it's clear that Hope Covert takes her fundraising efforts seriously.

Later this month, she will join her father in Tampa, Fla., for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Breast Cancer 3-Day event.

It's a walk that requires commitment -- a minimum of $2,300 in donations to participate and a willingness to train for the 60-mile, three-day walk.

Covert, 34, will walk for several reasons. It's a way to honor her aunt -- her mother's sister -- who died of breast cancer, and a way to spend time with her father, who lives in Tampa.


In her fundraising letter, Covert said she's doing the walk so her 10-year-old daughter can "grow up without the pain of losing someone to this disease," and for friends who have beaten breast cancer.

Covert grew up in Arnold, Md., near Annapolis, but her parents moved to Florida because of her father's job. She and her family live in Hagerstown's West End.

Covert's mother is unable to participate because she has polymyalgia, which causes widespread aching and stiffness in older adults. Her father has either walked in the event, worked as a crew member or cheered on walkers since 2002. When he said he was walking this year, Covert felt the time was finally right to join him.

A mother of three children ranging in age from 7 to 14, Covert is also an after-school program instructor at Mr. Jimmy's White Tiger Martial Arts Academy in the South End Shopping Center.

She organized a kick-a-thon and silent auction at the academy in mid-September, which raised about $2,000. Covert said students continue to add to the collection, which now stands at $2,667.

"The best part is little kids taking leftover birthday money and giving it (to the cause)," Covert said.

The donations helped Covert reach her fundraising goal, and helped her father reach his. She kept her promise to dye her hair pink -- a big change from her natural auburn -- for the month of October if her goal was met.

Covert said she's had several people tell her it suits her personality, although her husband, Edwin, is "kind of weirded out" by the color, she said.

Covert said she didn't know her aunt well when she was young, but got to know her when Covert was in her 20s. One of her favorite memories of her aunt is of her riding on the back of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle with her husband, sporting a bright red wig, "staring life in the face."

"She wasn't a lay-down-and-go person. The women in this family are a fighting bunch of women," Covert said.

The walk is Oct. 30 to Nov. 1. Covert trains with four- to five-mile walks on the C&O Canal or walks around the South End Shopping Center parking lot between classes.

To make a tax-deductible donation to Covert's team, Viva Las Chicas, and the Susan G. Komen fund, go to and click on the donate button on the upper right side of the page.

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