Hikers, including several WRAL-TV staffers, tackled the Sauratown Trail at Pilot Mountain on May 22, 2016, for a very special cause. The 24.8 hike was the inaugural Trailblaze Challenge, benefitting Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina. Hikers showed their endurance, both on the trail and in fundraising, to support providing joy and granting wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions.
Former CBC’ers Luanne Lane, now Corporate Relations Manager at MAW, coordinated the event.
“It was AMAZING!” she said. “Such a cool experience putting it together and then seeing it play out. And having CBC folks there was really special.”
CBC had a contingent participating in the event. WRAL-TV Reporter Adam Owens hiked with the husband-wife duo WRAL-TV Anchor/Reporter Lynda Loveland and WRAL-TV Senior Producer Randall Kerr. Another CBC couple, WRAL-TV Digital Media Administrator Steve Elizondo and WRAL-FM Copywriter/Air Personality Jami Caskey, volunteered at the event alongside their son Brandon.
“It was awesome to see people who have trained together come together on the weekend,” said Lane. “It felt like we were all family…family who put something bigger than ourselves first: Wish Kids. I heard over and over ‘if they can do chemo, I can hike’, ‘if they can do bone marrow transplants, I can go another mile’.”
Kerr shared about his adventure for capcom:
The challenge was quite an experience. Physically, it’s the most I’ve ever pushed myself. Despite screaming leg muscles and sore ankles, it was well worth the challenge for such a great cause like Make-A-Wish. I run and swim on a regular basis, but Lynda and I didn’t train for this at all. I’ve never had the itch to do a half marathon, much less a full one. That’s essentially what we did, with a couple of natural obstacle courses thrown in the mix! I’m really proud that we both finished the entire hike up and down hills, on narrow, rocky paths, through creeks and finally up a painstaking set of stairs to the summit parking lot at Pilot Mountain.
“I’ve never been so physically tested as I was for the Trailblaze Challenge,” she said. “You give of yourself for a day to help grant wishes for very sick children. It was a humbling and rewarding experience. I was physically exhausted but my heart was full. That pretty much sums it up.”
Their 26 mile hike took more than 9 hours. During the trek, which included a thunderstorm, they did make it to the top of Pilot Mountain.
Both Loveland and Kerr had such a good experience, they already want to Trailblaze for Make-A-Wish again.
“I would encourage anyone who enjoys challenging themselves to do a future Trailblaze Challenge,” said Kerr. “Aside from your own personal sense of accomplishment, you also know you’ve done something to put a smile on the face of a terminally ill child.”
Loveland said, “There’s another Trailblaze Challenge this fall and again in the spring. I’d like to do it again!”
Find out about the upcoming fall event. The hike weekend will be Friday, September 30 – Sunday, October 2: Make-A-Wish Trailblaze Challange Fall 2016
Owens reported on the event for WRAL-TV. Check out his story on WRAL.com:
Thanks to Luanne Lane, WRAL-TV’s Randall Kerr and WRAL-TV’s Lynda Loveland for these capcom photos.