HPU student GR Dulac crosses the finish line of the 122nd Boston Marathon.
HIGH POINT, N.C., April 19, 2018 – A High Point University student and a nonprofit organization founded by HPU parents recently united forces to support children in Haiti.
In 2010, Len and Cherylann Gengel began the Be Like Brit Foundation to honor the memory of their daughter, Britney Gengel, who died in the Haiti earthquake on January 12, 2010, during a college service trip. When their son, Richie Gengel, enrolled at HPU, the Gengels formed close ties to the university and established a partnership that HPU students continue to build each year with annual trips to Haiti for volunteer opportunities at the Be Like Brit orphanage.
That partnership continued this week as current HPU student GR Dulac crossed the finish line of the 122nd Boston Marathon.
One of nearly 30,000 runners, Dulac wasn’t running for himself – he was there for Be Like Brit. Each year, John Hancock Financial donates guaranteed entries to select nonprofits, who then use these entries to recruit individual runners to raise money for their cause. The Be Like Brit Foundation was one of those nonprofits, and they chose Dulac.
In 2016, Dulac took part in one of HPU’s alternative spring break trips to the Be Like Brit orphanage and became invested in the organization’s mission.
“I was incredibly fortunate to be part of that experience,” says Dulac. “I, along with every other HPU student on the trip, was impacted by the work we were able to accomplish. Through helping the Haitian workers build an earthquake resistant home during the day and then bonding and playing with the children in the orphanage at night, it was a trip like no other. It’s because of my time spent with the Be Like Brit foundation that I applied and was accepted to run the Boston Marathon as a charity entrant on the organization’s behalf.”
As of Marathon Monday, Dulac had raised more than $18,000 for Be Like Brit, a total that continues to grow.
The Boston Marathon ranks behind only the Super Bowl as the largest single day sporting event in the world. Approximately 500,000 onlookers line the 26.2-mile course annually. Runners train for months, and Dulac was no exception, putting in over 300 miles in the three months leading up to the race.
The arrival of race day brought temperatures in the low 40s, rain, 25-30 MPH wind gusts and the thousands of spectators. But, Dulac’s mind was miles away. He was focused on Haiti.
“Running it for charity, in honor of Britney, and for the 66 boys and girls in the Be Like Brit orphanage made the finish line seem 26 miles closer,” says Dulac. “While it’s great to run a marathon, or any race, for yourself, there’s something about doing it for a higher cause that makes it that much better. I hold Be Like Brit in the highest regard, and it was a true honor to represent them in the Boston Marathon. I’m thankful to all those who donated and spread the word of my fundraising. Each bit helped these kids, helped this community in Haiti, and helped me make a difference in a way that would honor Britney and help continue to fulfill her final wish – this amazing orphanage.”
ABOUT BE LIKE BRIT FOUNDATION, INC.
The Be Like Brit Foundation was founded by Len and Cherylann Gengel to continue the work of their daughter, Britney Gengel, who died in the earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010 while on a college service trip. Shortly before her death, she sent a text to her parents describing how much the work she was doing meant to her and how she wanted to start an orphanage there.
Today, Brit’s Home is a state-of-the-art 19,000 square foot facility, built on a hillside overlooking Grand Goave, Haiti. It is the home to 33 girls and 33 boys ages 5 to 17. Ther organization’s goal is to provide a permanent home for children without parents, or who had been living in abusive or neglected settings. The Orphanage includes play space, classrooms, a medical/dental clinic and a structured, supportive, culturally sensitive setting provided by the Haitian staff and dedicated to creating an atmosphere where children can develop and thrive.
Be Like Brit Foundation, Inc.’s Operation Center is located at 66 Pullman Street in Worcester, Massachusetts, where the administrative offices, storage and volunteer activities are located.