September 25, 2014 | by Darrin Joy
Heather Javier made her way up through the center of Northern California's picturesque Napa Valley, skirting renowned vineyards and critically acclaimed restaurants, flanked by the Mayacamas Mountains to the west and the Vaca Mountains to the east. Her sister, Sarah Escosa, ran next to her.
The two women urged each other on, concentrating on keeping their pace. Their legs reached out to the cool pavement before them, while their lungs filled easily with the fragrant early summer air as it warmed in the morning sun.
Just under 30 minutes into the Zooma Napa Valley 10K race, the sisters reached the fire station in the quaint town of Yountville, then reversed course and made the five kilometer trek back to the start-finish line, completing the race together almost exactly one hour after they began.
Javier, a quality control associate in City of Hope's Center for Biomedicine & Genetics, finished in the top 15 percent of the nearly 400 runners in the race, and 15th out of 85 women runners in her age group. Not bad for someone who was newly pregnant with her first child, which she announced at the race by sporting a 'Baby on Board' T-shirt.
She also claimed another important accomplishment, exceeding her goal of raising $2,500 for City of Hope through the new personal fundraising platform, ourHope.
One of the first and most successful employees to use ourHope, she built her page shortly after signing up for the race and dedicating her run to raise funds and awareness for City of Hope's Pediatric Cancer Program. "I'm a proud employee of City of Hope and although I don't work in the pediatric department, I'm always inspired by the faces of young adults and children I come across on campus in need of the treatments the department provides," she wrote on her ourHope page.
She asked friends and family to support her in the effort and used social media outlets such as Facebook and Instagram to get the word out. She even created a video on her ourHope page to promote her cause.
For Javier, fundraising on ourHope made her race even more meaningful, and she hopes to inspire other employees to create ourHope campaigns, as well.