Some of the most inspired runners in the 40th Lighthouse Run Saturday morning may be out of shape and out of breath.
Some of them might even walk their way through the four-mile segment of the event and not be the least bit concerned where they finish.
Placing among the leaders isn’t the point of their involvement, though. Their sole intent is participating for the financial benefit of a 47-year-old woman who desperately needs help.
Lisa Michel Hannes was diagnosed with Non-Alcoholic Streatohepatitis in 2010 and was informed that she needs a liver transplant last November. Multiple people have been tested as potential donors, including her son Peter, but no match has been found yet.
“She’s been out of work for a couple of months,” said Peter Hannes, a 2010 Horlick High School graduate who works in sales for Lyle Husar Designs in Brookfield. “She does the best she can, but she’s pretty miserable.”
He is blunt about her prognosis.
“She needs a liver transplant soon or she’s going to die,” he said.
Peter has organized a GoFundMe page to help his mother with her growing expenses, with the ultimate goal being $75,000 (about $10,000 has already been raised). A benefit has been organized for June 24 at the Roma Lodge.
He has also reached out to friends to form “Lisa’s Liver Runners” for the Lighthouse Run and has been thrilled by the interest his idea generated. About 25 people have reached out for pledges and will be running — and walking — for the benefit of Lisa Saturday.
“It’s a really well-known event in Racine and the family committee that we have together that planned her benefit ... we were just throwing around different ideas of what we could do to generate awareness and generate some money,” Hannes said. “The Lighthouse Run just popped into my head and I thought, ‘Maybe I can get a small group of people together that might want to do it.’
“The response was overwhelming. I did not expect this many people to want to do it.”
About $150 has been raised already by the group’s participation in the Lighthouse Run. Hannes said the goal is $1,000.
It has been the ultimate labor of love for Hannes, who could not imagine having a better mom.
“When I was young, my mom stayed at home and my dad worked multiple jobs because it was important for mom to raise the kids,” Hannes said. “They didn’t want to send us off to day care.
“I spent my whole childhood around her, so she and I are pretty close. And then when my brother and I got a little older, she went back to school and got her paralegal certificate and worked in the legal industry until this whole illness happened.
“She’s one of the most genuine and thoughtful people I know. Nobody deserves this, but it’s hard when it’s your mom.”
And Peter will do everything he can to improve a troubled life for her.
“She did everything for me when I was a kid, so to be able to do what I can to help her out, it’s kind of like paying her back,” he said.
Those wishing to donate to the family should visit: https://www.gofundme.com/lisa-michel-hannes-liver-transplant