Provena holds walk to benefit community

A world record was attempted today at a Health Walk conducted by Provena Covenant Health Center.

Terence Fitzgerald, who holds a doctoral degree from the University, attempted to lift 300,000 pounds of upper body weights, 100,000 of lower body weights, to run 15 miles, to complete 25 miles of elliptical work, to bike 120 miles, to walk or hike 15 miles with a 30-pound pack, to do 2000 crunches and to row on a stationary machine for 20 miles.

The challenge had to be completed within 19 hours from Friday’s 11:30 pm start time. The challenege ended with the conclusion of the walk, which was held at the High School of Saint Thomas More.

Fitzgerald, 36, is trying to raise awareness about the fight against breast cancer for women who do not have health insurance, while the general event is intended to raise money for those who need food and health care in the area.

“The money raised is going to go partly to Provena and partly to local food charities in the area,” said Lauren Giovagnoli, major gifts gfficer at the Provena Covenant Medical Foundation and chair of the committee that organized the event. “We have what we call the Sister Mary Gabriel Curby Endowment Fund and that was set up to raise money for people that can’t afford healthcare. And then we just decided that we wanted to do something else in the community as well.”

Fitzgerald, a special education and achievement coordinator for the Champaign Unit 4 Schools, said that it was seeing his mother and a good friend struggle with the disease that made him interested in the issue.

“I happened to be watching a 60 Minutes show, maybe in June, and it was about a clinic that had closed in Texas, dedicated to women with cancer. It just really upset me, watching people who are suffering. And then I begin to wonder what happens to people who don’t have insurance.” Fitzgerald said.

He heard about the Provena Health Walk from a coworker and wanted to get involved with the hospital’s efforts.

“As a kid, Evil Knievel was my hero and I thought I’ll do something really nutty that grabs people attention to this cause,” Fitzgerald said. “I happen to actually remember seeing, a couple of years ago, [someone] on a television show who had done all these feats for a Guinness Book record and I thought I could do that!”

With some alterations to the previous record, which took out anything that involved swimming and made the other tasks harder, Fitzgerald approached the coordinators at Provena.

“He approached us because he had been touched by breast cancer in many different ways and he wanted to help make a difference and raise some money and awareness towards the fight against breast cancer for people that can’t afford it. He came to us in the summer time, wanting to do this,” said Giovagnoli.

Fitzgerald did not bring in an observer from the Guinness Book of World Records because of the expenses that would be involved, which, he said, would be better put to use helping the poor.