Roy’s Run for Christopher

Onlookers at the Burbank Tennis Center cheer on Roy Wiegand during his July 4th Run For Christopher, during which the trumpeter and ultra-marathon  runner ran 86 miles to benefit families and children suffering from cancer.

Onlookers at the Burbank Tennis Center cheer on Roy Wiegand during his July 4th Run For Christopher, during which the trumpeter and ultra-marathon runner ran 86 miles to benefit families and children suffering from cancer. All photos courtesy Roy Wiegand

Trumpeter and ultra-marathon runner Roy Wiegand runs 86 miles to benefit families and children suffering from cancer

by Linda A. Rapka

Christopher Wilke, the inspiration behind Roy’s Run for Christopher.

Christopher Wilke, the inspiration behind Roy’s Run for Christopher.

Fourth of July weekend to most of us means lazing around with family, friends and BBQ. But for Roy Wiegand, the holiday weekend was spent running 86 miles in the blistering summer sun in memory of a young cancer victim.

In honor of Christopher Wilke, a 12-year-old boy who died of cancer in March, the trumpeter and ultra-marathon runner ran his Run for Christopher all the way from Angels Stadium in Anaheim to the Michael Hoefflin Foundation in Santa Clarita, all to raise funds to benefit the families of children with cancer as well as the children themselves, in addition to child-cancer research.

Wiegand’s son and Wilke were in the same Boy Scout Troop, and Wiegand was “blown away” by the amazing effect Wilke had upon so many people in his community. At the rosary for Wilke, Wiegand heard so many stories about the boy, who was an avid baseball player and loved the Angels. “It really spoke to me,” Wiegand said.

No stranger to running for charity, for the past several years Wiegand has done challenge runs to raise money for Lifewater International, an organization that builds water wells in developing countries. Last year he ran from San Luis Obispo to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena and raised $12,000 for this cause.

Wiegand’s parents, Bridget and Roy (a trombone player), await their son at the finish line proudly holding signs of encouragement and congratulations.

Wiegand’s parents, Bridget and Roy (a trombone player), await their son at the finish line proudly holding signs of encouragement and congratulations.

“I love to run and I like personal challenges,” he said. “The last three years I’ve been running for wells in Ethiopia, but when Christopher passed away tragically it shook me into a different place for families trying to cope with losing children.”

Wiegand was introduced to the Michael Hoefflin Foundation by Wilke’s parents, who were grateful for the resources the organization provided them during their son’s time in the hospital. “Children’s research funding is very under-funded because it’s a rare thing that children get cancer — thank god — but that limits the research,” Wiegand said.

During his Run for Christopher, for which he raised nearly $12,000, he invited anyone interested to join him be it on foot or on bicycle for any distance of the route, and several of his fellow Local 47 friends and colleagues did just that. Flutist Julie Long, trumpeter Gary Halopoff, and violinist Armen Anassian ran alongside Roy for part of the way, and on bicycles were trombonist David Stout, Wiegand’s wife, flutist Angela Wiegand, and his father, trombonist Roy Wiegand, in addition to many others.

He made it! Wiegand crosses the finish line with stroller in tow — during the run, he rolled with the stroller with which he gave rides to kids along the way.

He made it! Wiegand crosses the finish line with stroller in tow — during the run, he rolled with the stroller with which he gave rides to kids along the way.

“I love to run, but these challenges are really a vehicle for something much bigger, much greater than a run,” Wiegand said. “It’s for a great cause. The run is just something that brings people together and keeps them interested.”

For more information and to donate to the Michael Hoefflin Foundation, a public non-profit 501(c)3 foundation serving children and families touched by pediatric cancer in the Santa Clarita and surrounding valleys, visit www.mhf.org.

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