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Torch run

By Staff | Sep 28, 2016

Runners for the 100th anniversary Lee CHUCK BALLARO Memorial Health System torch run gather at the starting line Friday morning at Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers. 

Hundreds of Lee Memorial Health System volunteers, workers and administration got together Friday to celebrate the organization’s 100th anniversary the only way they know how – by promoting healthy lifestyles through a nice run.

A very, very long run.

Teams of employees throughout the system teamed up for a 33-mile torch run to all the system’s major hospitals to commemorate its century of caring for the community and to send a message about healthy behavior.

Scott Kashman, chief administrative officer for Cape Coral Hospital, said the run was about starting a new century of caring for the people in the community.

Kashman added that many hospitals have focused on sick care and what they do when you’re in the hospital. LMHS’s focus is how to keep you out.

CHUCK BALLARO Ed Peres, an IT worker at Lee Memorial Health System, holds the 3D torch for the 100th anniversary torch run Friday.

“We’re carrying the torch for healthy living. It’s symbolic of beginning our second century,” Kashman said. “We have more than 300 people running and 57 teams, with thousands more supporting it. This shows that there’s a real focus on our community’s health and well-being.”

And to make sure nobody dropped the torch, physicians, nurses, administrators, support staff and volunteers from across the health system carried the specially designed, 3D-printed torch in half-mile increments.

Scott Fine, who led the committee to put the event on, said one of the committee members came up with the idea of the torch as the symbol of caring.

“We decided to embellish it with a torch run and approached the first 40 or 50 people who were very interested, and it continued to expand to more than 300 runners,” Fine said. “I totally expected this many people. We have 12,000 employees and volunteers The engagement is incredible.”

The run began just after sunrise at Lee Memorial Hospital and continued to Cape Coral Hospital at around 9 a.m., HealthPark Medical Center, Gulf Coast Medical Center, and the site of the original Lee Memorial Hospital near downtown before finishing where it started at Lee Memorial around 3:30 p.m.

Jim Nathan, president and CEO of LMHS, said he couldn’t pass this up, having been a runner for much of his life, as the entire system continues to evolve.

“I’m so excited about this. Not everybody gets to do a 100th anniversary. We think this is a great dress rehearsal for our 200th anniversary,” Nathan said. “This is also the time we’re converting our name to Lee Health, and we’re trying to signify we’re working with the community to improve its overall health.”

Ed Peres, an IT worker at Lee Memorial Health System, holds the 3D torch for the 100th anniversary torch run Friday.