Rebecca’s Trek Out West for Hope House

Rebecca at Chimney Rock More of Chimney Rock
Wagon ruts in the sandstone Rebecca at the Continental Divide
Rebecca visits Hope House Rebecca and dad get ready for their trek


Rebecca’s Run for the Kids at Hope House” 

“A 10K, everyday, along the 1624 mile Pioneer Trail”

13-year-old Rebecca (Stokes) from Atlanta, Georgia has a grand purpose for her running this year – she is raising money for her young friends at Hope House in Atlanta, Georgia. Hope House is a children’s respite hospice that provides care to medically fragile children and their families. This care, given at no cost, for 2 hours to 2 weeks, helps families with children suffering from progressive life-threatening illnesses and severe disabilities. Their individualized programs provide an integrated blend of respite services for families across the United States at Hope House and in some Atlanta Counties they provide home-based care.

Rebecca is running to raise awareness for the unique services offered to families at Hope House and to help them raise over $800,000 needed to pay for their new facility. She has a message to the Youth of America, “Go out and play each day, have some fun, get some exercise.” And she is backing it up with some lofty personal exercise goals. She plans to run 1000 miles in 2002 and run this July a 10K everyday, along the 1624-mile Mormon Pioneer Trail.

Rebecca is a Georgia State Champion in the 1600-Meter, 12U girls has been running for 3 years. She is also the State runner-up in the 800M and in Cross-Country. It is noted that obesity among youth is a growing problem across the Country. She says, “If kids would get away from the TV and computer and go out to play and get some exercise they will feel better and be healthier. I enjoy watching TV and use the computer a lot but 4-5 days a week and sometimes 6 days I run a few miles and play with my friends after school. I feel healthy because I try to take care of my body. I try to use the running talent the Lord gave me to better myself and now with Hope House I can do something that is very important for others who cannot do it themselves. I like that!”

Rebecca says, “Hope House allows families some time off”. Families need time to relax and recharge themselves from the 24/7 duties of taking care of children who have severe health problems.” By providing a place where these children will feel right at home in a warm, friendly House, parents and other family members can get away knowing that their child is being taken care of by loving people who enjoy serving others.

When asked how she came up with the idea of running a pioneer trail she replied, “I was joking one day with my mom and dad. My Dad was talking about the Pioneers who crossed the plains by walking, pushing and pulling handcarts or by covered wagons. He told me that some of my ancestors crossed the plains this way back in the 1850’s and if our family crossed the plains as modern pioneers we would use a golf cart since we drive one all around our town. I said jokingly, and I’d run it. Well I should have learned by now not to joke like that around my Dad. He thought I was on to something, that it was a great idea. A few months later he told me that Yamaha, a golf cart manufacturer was going to supply the golf cart and my run was on!”

Isn’t that a difficult journey for a 13 year-old? “Kind of! – We asked my Dad’s cousin, Patrick Shane, who coaches the (NCAA National Champion) BYU Women’s Cross County team how to run that distance. I was thinking about running a 10K-distance everyday, along the way. Coach Shane said that was a lot of miles to run for someone my age.   He recommended that I only run that far each day and no more. He said I could run a few miles in the morning, then a few more miles mid-day and then finish it up later on in the afternoon so I don’t hurt myself. Her father, a doctor of chiropractic plans to help her with her aches and pains on the trek and Joanne Davis, a distributor for Tahitian Noni provides the Noni Juice she likes to drink and sunblock that will protect her from the hot desert sun.

Rebecca has a future goal of improving each year so she can get a scholarship to run at college and be good enough for the Olympics someday.  This past summer she traveled to Scotland to compete in the Scottish Highland Games in the 800M.  January 2001 she competed in a Cross-Country race near London, England.  July 24, 2001 she took 2nd in her age division at the Deseret News/Granite Furniture 10K race in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Rebecca is a member of the Peachtree City Running Club. She competes for the Peachtree City Flash Youth Track Team in Georgia and also runs with the Atlanta Track Club. She runs a 5:40 mile, 2:35 800M and a 49 minute 10K.

Rebecca begins her westward run this July from the banks of the Mississippi River near Nauvoo, Illinois. The Trail crosses Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming and into Salt Lake City, Utah. Her father will follow Rebecca while she runs using a new Yamaha sponsored Golf Cart and when she is not running, both will travel about 12 hours a day on the cart. They plan to arrive in Salt Lake on July 21 so Rebecca can get ready for her last 10K of the trip which starts at 6:15am on July 24, 2002. It is the big founders day race in Utah commemorating the day the original pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, 1847. After that race these “modern pioneers” will load up there cart and weary bones and journey back to Georgia.

To make a contribution to Hope House contact Janice Wright, 770-969-8354 or go to

We wish Rebecca safe and enjoyable running.