Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hope Inspires Us to do the Unimaginable

“Once you choose hope, anything's possible” (Christopher Reeve).

Christopher Reeve could have been talking about Gregg Ellis and Mitchell Hollis after this weekend’s “24 Hours of Hope.” Beginning at 5pmlast Friday afternoon and continuing throughout the night until 5pm on Saturday, Ellis and Hollis and 250 community supporters continuously ran for 24 hours to raise funds and awareness for the Carter Hope Center.

Ellis individually ran 100.5 miles over the 24 hours while Hollis completed 50 miles in 13 hours. Gregg Ellis is no stranger to endurance events. He is also a recovering addict and former Carter Hope Center client. Ellis completed the very first Indoor Iron Distance Event at the Bradley Wellness Center last year and this year he came back with a new endurance event. For the 24 hour event, he partnered with the Run for God founder Hollis. Both men attempted to run for 24 hours, in what The Carter Hope Center called the "24 Hours of Hope."

Chamber Vice-President of member services, Beth Morrison, who serves on the board of directors at the Carter Hope Center introduced Ellis and Hollis. She saw the event could grow bigger by the association with Run for God. Both men have many things in common, and the partnership just made sense. “I think both men will agree they have each made a friend for life”, said Morris.

Ellis has been clean for 2.5 years. “Carter Hope saved my life, and I could never repay them for everything they have done for me,” said Ellis. The “24 Hours of Hope” raised over $10,000 dollars for the Carter Hope Center. Exposure for the CHC was the major reason for having the event. “Many in our area don’t know we have such a great facility in our community. They provide a 9 month in-patient program that really helps people recover from addiction. The center isn’t a 30-day band-aid for those struggling with addiction. It is a long term solution which teaches lifestyle changes and real coping skills,” said Morris.

Although Hollis came into the event with damaged IT bands in his knee, he had received treatment from his physician and felt he could complete the event. Although he wasn’t able to complete the event, he stayed by Ellis’ side the entire 24 hours and coached him through the miles. Ellis said he wouldn’t have been able to accomplish the feat without Hollis’ support. Hollis never sat down, stayed in Ellis’s ear with encouraging words, and helped him keep pace and motivated throughout the event.

Ellis is now among elite endurance runners nationally and globally. He joins the ranks of only 30 people worldwide who have run 100 miles or more in a 24 hour period indoor on a treadmill. He is 1 of only 7 Americans who have accomplished the same. Our community should be very proud of Ellis and Hollis for their commitment to their individual health and wellness, their endurance in tackling such a grueling event, and their support for the Carter Hope Center.

Most of us know and appreciate that we live in a very special community. Events like the “24 Hours of Hope” prove it. And amazing citizens like Gregg Ellis, Mitchell Hollis, and the other 250 runners also prove it. The Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce salutes Greg, Mitchell, each and every runner who participated, and the Carter Hope Center!

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