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Race of Hope Virtual

Race of Hope Virtual

Hope for Depression Research Foundation (HDRF) hosted its first-ever Race of Hope Drive-By Lunch in Southampton to thank top donors and kick off the Virtual Race of Hope which will bring together hundreds of runners across the nation this summer to raise mental health awareness.

Traditionally, the Race of Hope takes place in Southampton every summer and has been one of the charity’s signature events since 2015. This year, the Race will go virtual with an online opening ceremony and countdown on August 2, 2020.  

The Drive-By lunch took place on a perfect, sunny day in front of the Southampton Cultural Center on Pond Lane.  HDRF Founder and Chair Audrey Gruss donned a running cap, tee-shirt and face mask in HDRF’s signature sunshine yellow; she waved and thanked guests as they drove by in their cars to receive a delicious picnic lunch to take home. Race of Hope Co-Grand Marshals Jamee Gregory and Arthur Dunnam also joined Gruss to greet guests.

Over 30 top donors attended, lining up by car on Pond Lane, which was decorated with HDRF’s HOPE yellow balloons (recyclable and environmentally friendly). Each guest received a straw basket tied with yellow ribbon and brimming with a lunch of sliced chicken, two side salads, cheese platter, cookies and brownies and fresh cherries and peaches. The baskets were generously provided by Race sponsor Eli Zabar. Other major sponsors are Findlay Galleries and Livingston Builders. 

Martin Gruss led the procession of arriving cars in a bright yellow 1972 vintage Ferrari. Giant “Stand with Me” banners of past HDRF celebrity honorees, with quotes about overcoming depression, were lined up to remind guests that depression advocacy is critical for reducing stigma and sparking life-saving conversations.  

Audrey Gruss said: “Depression is a grand-challenge public health issue that was critical before COVID-19 and imperative now. Mental health needs to be a top priority for our nation now, and we are so thankful to all our Southampton supporters who are answering the call.”

She added: “Depression is the Number One reason for disability and suicide worldwide, and yet over 35% of people do not respond to conventional medications. That is why HDRF’s advanced research into new and better treatments is so urgent.”

Guests included: Lisa AerySteve BernsteinJanna Bullock, Amanda GrussChambersEliza Nordeman DavisRoy CohenMax Federbush, Alex SchaffelBambi and Roger FelberbaumLucia Hwong GordonAlan GlattPeter GregoryKim HeirstonMariana KaufmanAnne S. NordemanScott SnyderClelia and Tom ZachariasRichard Ziegelasch, and Silvia Zoullas.

The drive-by lunch kicks off the Hope for Depression Research Foundation’s Virtual 5K Race of Hope, the same race that has been a summer highlight in Southampton since 2015. This year, all registered runners and walkers can choose their own race route wherever they may be in the country.

The Virtual Race of Hope
Here’s how it works:  

  1. Go online to and register for the Virtual Race for a fee of $40.
  2. You will then receive fabulous signature Race of Hope gear in the mail. 
  3. There will be an online opening ceremony and countdown for the Race on August 2 at 8 AM.  
  4. Participants can run or walk their race after the virtual countdown on August 2, or they can march to their own drum and complete the race at any time that is perfect for them.

The Virtual Race live broadcast event on Sunday, August 2 will feature participants’ messages of hope and a Grand Marshal welcome message prior to the race starting at 8:30 AM.  Grey’s Anatomy star Eric Dane, a Race Ambassador, will have hopeful messages forRace participants as they complete the Race. 

#Share Hope, a social media contest.

Anyone who registers can participate in HDRF’s social media contest called #Share Hope. Find out about the social media contest on Everyone who has sent in a video or photo of themselves running or walking is eligible.  Up to 50 lucky winners will have submissions featured on HDRF’s social media pages, leading up to and/or during the online opening ceremony on Sunday August 2 at 8 am. They will also receive a sturdy and practical Hope for Depression Research Foundation signature canvas tote. 

Audrey Gruss founded HDRF in April 2006 in memory of her mother Hope, who struggled with clinical depression. Today, HDRF is the leading nonprofit organization focused solely on depression research.  Over 300 million people annually struggle with depression globally, but despite its prevalence, depression is still misunderstood, underfunded and under-researched. The mission of the HDRF is to fund cutting-edge neuroscience research into the origins, medical diagnosis, new treatments, and prevention of depression and its related mood disorders, including bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorder and suicide. To date, HDRF has provided more than $36-million through over 125 grants for accelerated breakthrough depression research that promises to lead to new and better medications and treatments. 


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