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Manatee Hope crew to go distance for funds

MANATEE — The executive director of Manatee Hope is willing to prove she’ll go the distance to raise funds for her organization.

Fortunately, Lena Thoresen isn’t the only one willing and able to run 100 miles in the South Florida heat.

Thoresen and five teammates plan to share running duties for the Keys 100, a 100-mile run from Key Largo to Key West, on May 15 to raise money for Manatee Hope, which provides mental health and physical and speech therapy services to families who are indigent or underinsured.

Thoresen ran the Keys 100 last year with a different group and thought it would make a good fundraiser this year.

“Last year was very hot,” Thoresen said. “Some people run it all by themselves. That’s a little too much for me.”

Created in 2007, Manatee Hope is a nonprofit organization sponsored by Children’s Therapy Solutions, a for-profit company that offers physical, occupation and speech therapy, as well as mental health services to clients younger than 21.

Thoresen and Kathy White operate Children’s Therapy Solutions and are co-executive directors at Manatee Hope.

Also joining Thoresen on the run will be Manatee Hope Treasurer Becky Doll and the Bradenton Christian connection of track-and-field athletes of the recent past in Julia White, Kathy’s daughter, and Emily Egan, and stars of the slightly more distant past in Kristina and Kamille Bratton.

Kristina Bratton is the BCS track and field coach. She and her sister won multiple state championships before leaving to run at the University of Florida.

“I got some good recruits,” Thoresen said.

The six runners will rotate several times during the run, she said. Each runner plans to complete 16.67 miles.

Only Julia White rejoins Thoresen from last year’s group, which completed the run in just less than 18 hours. Except for the fact Children’s Therapy Solutions occupational therapist Megan Pitstick lost four toenails while pounding the pavement, it was a rewarding experience, Thoresen said.

“We just had a great time,” she said. “When I tell people that, they don’t think it sounds like fun.”

Thoresen said all funds raised from the run will go to direct therapy for indigent or underinsured children. She doesn’t want to limit giving by setting a goal for how much money the event can raise.

“Manatee Hope is a great opportunity for Manatee County to have these services available,” Thoresen said. “The more money we have, the more we can help people.”

To donate, visit the Manatee Hope Web site at or call Thoresen at 545-6396.