MIRAMAR, FLA. (WSVN) - Hundreds of cars lined up for a celebratory caravan, as the Tour de Broward held its annual fundraiser and honored supporters who completed a variety of marathons, all for a noble cause.
Organizers of the 12th annual ANF Group Tour de Broward said that putting on Sunday’s fundraiser in the middle of a pandemic is tricky, especially when it’s for a hospital.
“Right now we’re expanding the [Joe DiMaggio] Children’s Hospital by four stories, growing up with technology for quality and safety and excellent patient care,” said Caitlin Stella, CEO of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, “but we also have money available for when families need assistance.”
Even COVID-19 couldn’t stop fundraising efforts. Organizers said they had to get creative, so they took the show on the road to Miramar Regional Park.
“What we’re doing today is we’re actually having a little drive-thru for the participants who, throughout the month of February, did their own little tour — the ride, the walk, the run — on their own, kind of clocked in their mileage on the website and participated by fundraising,” said Al Fernandez, president of ANF Group.
People took part in big numbers.
“OK, guys? More than 1,000 participants. We’ve raised $375,867!” said Fernandez as he revealed a large check.
Among those who rose to the challenge was Brett Rose, who shared videos of his progress after a bite from a mosquito carrying the West Nile virus impacted his nervous system and his ability to walk during a vacation to the Florida Keys last year.
The virus is rare, affecting about one in every 150 people.
Rose said he wanted to give back to Memorial Healthcare System, so fundraising for the expansion of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital was the perfect chance.
In six months, Rose has gone from wheelchair to walker to cane. He covered 1,000 meters a day for three days as a way to thank the health care professionals who helped him get back to his family and his life.
“I have an amazing team of physical and occupational therapists. Full recovery is certainly in the window of happening,” he said.
The campaign reached 100% of its fundraising goal this year.
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