Gophers host annual HopeDay Festival

A child grips a football player held by a Golden Gopher athlete at the HopeDay Festival.

The Golden Gopher athletic department held its largest community service event of the year when it hosted the 12th annual HopeDay Festival Sept. 9 at TCF Bank Stadium.

Nearly 500 student-athletes joined 250 HopeKids family members on the TCF Bank Stadium field and plaza. Dunk tanks, petting zoos, tie-dye t-shirts and a rock climbing wall were located on the plaza, while kids played on the field inside the stadium. A Papa John's pizza party was also provided to those in attendance. All of the U of M's athletic programs were represented that weren’t competing that day. 

HopeKids is an organization that gives hope to children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses via a program of ongoing, highly anticipated events with the message that hope is a powerful medicine. Founded in September 2001 in Phoenix, it added a Minneapolis/St. Paul chapter in November of 2006 and serves nearly 1,250 HopeKids and their families.

A large percentage of the children in the program have already had their one large wish from one of the various wish granting organizations, but their battle continues. A large percentage of HopeKids have cancer; however, the program also serves children with any life-threatening illnesses such as kidney disease, heart disease, sickle cell and cystic fibrosis.
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities