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Second annual Sean M. Allen Courage & Hope Challenge set for September

Aug. 29, 2013
<b>Nick and Lindy Allen are sponsoring the second annual Sean M. Allen Courage & Hope Challenge Sept. 21 in Longmeadow.</b> <br>Reminder Publications photo by Lori Szepelak

Nick and Lindy Allen are sponsoring the second annual Sean M. Allen Courage & Hope Challenge Sept. 21 in Longmeadow.
Reminder Publications photo by Lori Szepelak

By Lori Szepelak


LONGMEADOW – Runners and walkers from across Western Massachusetts are sought for the second annual Sean M. Allen Courage & Hope Challenge, slated Sept. 21 on Longmeadow Street.

Earlier this year, two $2,500 scholarships were awarded from proceeds raised from the first “challenge” last September. Scholarships went to a student at Barnstable High School, Sean’s alma mater, and the other to a student at Cathedral High School in Springfield.

“The scholarships are awarded to students challenged by disabilities or students planning on majoring in a disability related field,” Lindy Allen said during an interview with Reminder Publications. Allen is the president of Sean M. Allen Courage and Hope Challenge, Inc., a nonprofit that she and her husband Nick started after their only child, Sean, died of cancer in 2011 at the age of 27.

“Sean lived a very full and rewarding life despite being challenged by cerebral palsy and cancer,” she said.

Nick Allen added that the “challenge” is their hope to “inspire others to make a difference in the world.”

The couple acknowledged how thankful they are for the individuals and businesses who have reached out to support this cause – which promotes the value, hope and courage of people who are challenged with disabilities through education, public awareness and individual needs.

“We have also helped individuals with equipment and computer software which have assisted their ability to live life to the fullest like Sean,” said Lindy Allen.

St. Mary’s Parish, 519 Longmeadow St., is the starting and ending point for the 5K run or 1.5-mile walk that starts at 9:15 a.m., rain or shine. Rev. Francis E. Reilly, pastor at St. Mary’s, will say a blessing for all before the event begins.

The 1.5-mile walk is flat and on sidewalks, and the 5K run has nine turns – with police escort.

The Harriers are the official timers for the 5K run, and $100 will be awarded for the top male and female runners.

Once the runners and walkers return to the church parking lot, there will be activities for children including a Bounce House, donated by Quinn McCray, and face painting by Christine Robinson, who is also donating her time. In addition, Brain Nicks Productions has donated a PA system for the festivities, and Sue Muldoon has donated her services as chief photographer. DJ Danna Mazzola will provide the musical entertainment for the morning event.

Pre-registration is encouraged and can be completed online at www.seanallenchallenge.org. Entry fees are $5 for children 12 years of age and younger, and $30 for adults. For entrants registered prior to race day, each person will receive a T-shirt. Last-minute registrations will also be available from 8 to 8:45 a.m.

“The challenge is a family event and we welcome all ages to participate,” Lindy Allen said.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available and range from a Grand Slam level of $1,000, to a Home Run level for $750, a Triple level for $500, a Double level for $250, and a Single level for $150. The deadline to lock in a sponsorship is Sept. 15.

“Our 100 percent volunteer nonprofit is a 501(c)3 so sponsorships are tax-deductible,” Nick Allen said.

The couple also noted that raffle prizes and donations are “kindly accepted and appreciated.”

For more information on any aspect of the event, contact Lindy Allen via email to lindy.allen@seanallenchallenge.org, call 754-3528, or visit www.seanallenchallenge.org.

“The works of our organization are focused on providing opportunities for people challenged by disabilities to live their life to the fullest by finding ways to minimize hurdles and provide resources so that can be accomplished,” Lindy Allen said.

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