Benefit race at Bryant honors Michelle Hopkins

Benefit race at Bryant honors Michelle Hopkins

SMITHFIELD - A road race around the Bryant University campus March 30 will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Rhode Island, in the name of a student at Smithfield's St. Philip School who died of leukemia in 1981.

The race, called "Miles for Michelle" and held once before in 2012, will now become an annual event and is expected to draw some 400 runners and walkers who can choose among 1K, 5K, and 10K distances, with the shortest route expected to attract children and their parents.

Proceeds from the race will go toward the society's research and patient support efforts in honor of Michelle Hopkins, who died at age 11 while a 5th-grader at St. Philip's.

The competition is being organized by a childhood friend of Michelle's, Carla Mulhern, of Glocester, now special events manager for the society.

Mulhern, 44, said she remembers Michelle as "one of the funniest people I ever met, with a huge smile."

Even when her disease had progressed and she lost her hair, "She was still trying to make people laugh," Mulhern said. She said the race course will be contained entirely within the Bryant campus, with the 1K to start at 9:15 a.m., and the other two at 10.

Registration fees are $12 for the 1K and $25 for the others.

Mulhern said that "virtual" runners or walkers, who can't attend but "want to be there in spirit," can contribute a $20 registration fee, and others who wish to contribute can make pledges in the names of the various entrants.

Registration and pledges can be made at Bryant at 8 a.m. the day of the races, or online beforehand at www.racemenu.com/events .

Anyone with questions can reach Mulhern at 401-692-1211.