Healthcare Heroes: The Rhino Run Club

Positive Force in Beverly

What started as a running club at a Beverly brewery has become a global philanthropic social media movement to help Beverly Hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic. When social distancing guidelines went into effect, the Rhino Run Club couldn’t meet in person anymore. Ben Garry, who owns Old Planters Brewing Company in Beverly, where the club originated, teamed up with his friend Scott Jamieson, a friend and captain of the team, to find a way to help the cause. 

They challenged their club members to do a half-hour run, the Rhino Relay, on a Saturday and donate $25. Those runners posted about the challenge on social media, reaching people in Europe and Asia who wanted to join in, too. More than 300 people on 16 teams came together and raised more than $12,000 for Beverly Hospital’s Healthcare Heroes Emergency Response Fund, which will support the hospital and frontline caregivers during the COVID-19 crisis.

“So many people in the community feel so powerless in the fight against COVID-19, and this gave them something tangible they could do to help,“ Scott said.

Runners posted pictures from their runs with the hashtag #RhinoRelay2020. A quick search of that hashtag shows lots of people wearing masks while on their runs and practicing proper social distancing.

“I woke up the morning we hit $10,000,” Ben recalled, “and I remember I just started crying happily. But I was like, ‘What?’”

One of the runners, Andrew Frates, works for ASICS Shoes. At Andrew’s request, ASICS donated 15 pairs of shoes for frontline caregivers at Beverly, to keep them comfortable while working long shifts on their feet. He wanted to pay it forward after the community rallied around his brother Pete Frates, whose battle with ALS inspired the Ice Bucket Challenge, and his family. “It makes us happy to give back to the hospital where my brother, my sister, and I were all born,” Andrew said. “This race really embodied what Governor Baker has been telling us for over a month: that we will get through this together by staying apart.” 

Beverly ICU nurse Caitlyn Gaglione, RN, saw the runners out and about after a 12-hour shift. “I was taken aback and even a little teary-eyed,” she wrote on the group’s Facebook page. “While the other nurses at Beverly and I take care of this community’s loved ones during such a difficult time, your support makes it a little easier.” 

“I think Beverly is a strong community in the sense that we like to do things together, even at this time when we can’t be together,“ Ben said. “To see it come together in such a beautiful, positive force, it was just great to see that.”