Goblin Gallop to raise money for clinic

By Jason A. Smith
Times Correspondent

It’s almost time once again for a ghoulishly-named Henry County tradition that’s all heart.

The 12th annual Goblin Gallop is coming to Heron Bay Golf & Country Club in Locust Grove Oct. 24. Proceeds will benefit the Hands of Hope Clinic in Stockbridge.

The event will include a 10K and 5K run, a one-mile run/walk and a Tot Trot for children.

Hands of Hope offers medical and emergency dental services to uninsured residents of Henry County. Executive Director Mollie Cole says the facility is careful to ensure that it helps people who need help.

“Their income has to fall within 300 percent of the federal poverty level,” says Cole.

Hands of Hope was founded in 2004, originally operating at McDonough Presbyterian Church and later moving onto the campus of Piedmont Henry Hospital. The clinic, says Cole, is funded completely through charitable donations and receives no federal money.

Cole says the economic downturn that began in 2008 resulted in more uninsured people needing the services provided by Hands of Hope. She says the hospital has been generous over the years in showing its support for the clinic.

“We had to put people on a waiting list to be patients because the demand was so great. But now, we have no waiting list,” she says. “Piedmont Henry donates space for the clinic, lab and diagnostic work. Also, starting in 2015, they have started giving us money in the form of a grant to allow us to hire additional personnel so we can open full-time.”

Cole hopes the funds generated in next month’s event will keep pace with past years.

“We raise anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000 every year,” says Cole. “Our goal is $15,000 to $20,000 this year.”

Heron Bay has hosted the Goblin Gallop since 2005 and attracted more than 300 participants for the event last year. Hannah Mullins, Heron Bay’s marketing manager, says the event was originally a way to exercise and socialize for a good cause, but has since morphed into something much bigger.

“It’s a cornerstone for our community,” says Mullins. “It showcases the values and the heart of our community members. It’s really about their dedication to each other as neighbors and raising funds for one of Henry County’s most worthy causes.”

Prizes will be awarded at the Goblin Gallop for runners and guests who sport the most creative costumes.

For more information, visit www.handsofhopeclinic.org.