Bel Air, Md., April 17, 2015 — Faith, grace and strength. These three words will be celebrated at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium on Saturday, May 9, as an estimated 1,500 walkers are expected to participate in the Second Annual Amanda Hichkad CCA Celebration Walk.
The walk is organized by The Upper Chesapeake Health Foundation and Chesapeake Cancer Alliance and named after the late Amanda Hichkad, a Bel Air wife, mother of three boys and volunteer extraordinaire. This annual event honors and memorializes all cancer patients and their loved ones while celebrating the power of community and raising funds to support the Cancer LifeNet program at University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health’s Kaufman Cancer Center.
The walk, presented by Klein’s ShopRite and Ripken Baseball, takes place on the field at Ripken Stadium, along the warning track, with the goal of completing four laps around it—The Ripken Mile. This year the goal is to raise $150,000 for Cancer LifeNet.
The cost to register is $25 per person; children 12 and under are free. Commemorative T-shirts will be awarded to those who fundraise $50 or more. Registration takes place online at uchfoundation.org and the morning of the walk. Donations may also be made online at uchfoundation.org. Day-of registration opens at 7:30 a.m., with the ceremonial program and walk beginning at 8 a.m.
Following the walk is the Aberdeen IronBirds’ annual IronFest, which kicks off the 2015 baseball season. IronFest features the Out of the Park Yard Sale, Family Fun Expo and an opportunity to purchase individual game tickets. Activities include face painting, balloon artists, caricatures, live music, the opportunity for kids to run the bases and more. For more information on IronFest, visit ripkenbaseball.com.
A Harford County resident since 2006, Amanda Hichkad was an active participant in the local moms’ club, the P.T.A. and a beloved member of her church. She could always be found cheering on her sons as they participated in numerous recreation council sports.
In 2008 Hichkad was diagnosed with cervical cancer. She went into remission for three and a half years before the cancer returned in 2012. Throughout both cancer diagnosis’ and numerous treatments, Hichkad, her husband, Tejan, and three sons benefitted from the free-of-charge services provided by the Cancer LifeNet program.
Cancer LifeNet is funded fully through the philanthropic support of The Upper Chesapeake Health Foundation and its Chesapeake Cancer Alliance volunteers. The program offers free-of-charge supportive care services to all cancer patients and their loved ones in Harford and Cecil counties, regardless of where they receive their cancer treatment.
Cancer LifeNet services include nurse navigators, volunteer navigators, oncology social workers, support groups and specialized classes including tai chi, yoga, healthy cooking and group programs for children who have a parent or loved one with cancer. Last year, Cancer LifeNet provided these free-of-charge services to an estimated 1,250 local cancer patients and family members.
In 2014 The Upper Chesapeake Health Foundation and its Chesapeake Cancer Alliance organized a first-ever fundraising walk for Cancer LifeNet and asked Hichkad to lend her name to it, to demonstrate concretely how the program supports local cancer patients and their families in the community.
Tejan Hichkad remembers the invitation well. Initially, his wife hesitated to say yes because she didn’t want the attention on herself. However, “she gave her name to the walk to ensure others on the same journey would have the same resources and opportunities through Cancer LifeNet.”
The walk in 2014 grew significantly in numbers and fundraising dollars as the date drew near. The first-year event raised more than $100,000 for Cancer Life Net.
While Amanda Hichkad passed away in September 2014, her husband, Tejan, said, “Amanda did not lose her battle with cancer, she beat it. She beat cancer because she took something so terrible, evil and destructive and through her faith, grace and strength turned it into an inspirational example of how to live, love and laugh and give hope to her family, friends and community.”