DAHLONEGA — The University of North Georgia (UNG) Student-Athlete Advisory Committee's (SAAC) fifth annual Nigel's Walk/Run with Superheroes will take a new turn this year to allow for more participation within the UNG community. It has been converted to a virtual event, and participants can exercise one kilometer any time between April 6 and April 12.
UNG is only $2,000 short of reaching its annual goal of the $10,000 donation required to host a Make-A-Wish reveal. Since 2013, the SAAC at UNG has hosted eight wish reveals on campus.
The price has been reduced to a team rate of $10 per participant. The costume contest also moves online, and participants are asked to send a photo or video message of their walk and costume to Nigel's Twitter or Facebook accounts or UNG Athletics' Instagram account with the hashtag #NIGELSVIRTUALWALK.
UNG Athletics will share participants' costume photos, and a winner will be chosen. All participants will receive their T-shirts either through the mail or via on-campus pick-up at a later date.
"It is very important, especially in a time like this, that we continue to make an impact in our community and strive to reach our goal of granting a wish to a local child who battles illness every day," said SAAC President Imani Arnold, a junior women's basketball player and track and field student-athlete. "Granting a wish and continuing to raise funds through #NIGELSVIRTUALWALK allows us to let them know we are still rooting for them."
In the spirit of social distancing, this year's participants are asked to sign up online and walk at home or give a general donation toward the goal.
"A virtual walk allows the Nighthawk Nation to continue its annual pursuit of granting wishes," said Lindsay Reeves, UNG director of athletics. "In a time when so many events are being canceled, our student-athletes insisted on working together to find a way to keep this special occasion on the calendar."
Since 2010, UNG has raised more than $195,000 for Make-A-Wish, having raised at least $10,000 every year since 2010-11, meaning more than 19 wishes have been granted from the efforts of the Nighthawk Nation. UNG has finished in the top five NCAA Division II donors for eight consecutive years, including being the top donor on six different occasions. In November, UNG was named the national Division II leader for a fourth straight year.