By Madison Wawrek and Laney Tower
One student’s untimely and sudden passing will now be the reason children fighting cancer can fight another day. In honor of late Ole Miss student Zach Hoefloer—who passed away from a cancerous brain tumor in September 2018—money raised this weekend from a 5K will benefit children fighting cancer at St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
The Hoefler Strong 5K will begin at 2 p.m on Sunday, Nov. 10 at the University Museum. Check-in time for runners is 1 p.m.
More than 260 Ole Miss students and members of the Oxford community will run a 5K in honor of Hoefler on Sunday afternoon on the Ole Miss campus. All are encouraged to participate. Registration is $20 and participants will receive a T-shirt.
“We have people coming from all over the country including Florida, Texas, the Oxford and Ole Miss community and more,” said Caroline Swenson, Ole Miss student and 5K organizer.
Money raised from the race will be donated to the Hoefler Strong Foundation and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The HoeflerStrong Foundation was created by Hoefler’s parents to help with emotional, spiritual, financial and educational assistance to families who have children diagnosed with pediatric illness.
Swenson, Zach Colby and other Ole Miss students have been organizing this event together. This is the inaugural 5K in Hoefler’s honor and they hope this tradition continues for years to come, they said.
“I have worked on philanthropy events for a while, but I haven’t had a cause this close to me,” said Colby, a member of Pi Kappa Alpha, the same fraternity as Hoefler. “Zach was someone I looked up to as a future leader of our organization and I wanted to help him grow into that. Unfortunately, it was cut short. That is why I want to continue his legacy with this event. People will go out, compete, have fun, and lead like Zach would have.”
Community involvement and generosity has played a significant role in making this race happen.
Sponsors include the Williamson Family, Sterling Building Specialists, Y&L Auction Company, Planters Bank, Blo Dry Bar, Sigma Chi, Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Delta Pi, Pi Phi, Phi Mu, Kappa Delta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Delta Delta Delta, Phi Delta Theta, Alpha Tau Omega, Pi Kappa Alpha and Kroger.
“To have the Oxford and Ole Miss community come together to support this cause means so much to the 5K committee,” Swenson said. “We all loved Zach so much. Honoring him and helping others will allow us to continue his fight so no one has to go through what he did.”
To register or donate to the event, please follow this link. For those not able to attend the race on Sunday, there is a virtual race option. This will take place in Hoefler’s hometown of Allen, Texas.
To read more about Hoefler’s story, please follow this link.