Runaway Bride: Online Prof Bringing Bachelorette Party to Cancer Run
By Bob Romantic
GCU News Bureau
Andrea Baranyk won’t be hard to spot during Saturday’s Run to Fight Children’s Cancer at Grand Canyon University.
She’ll be the one with a wedding veil on her head, colorful ’80s clothing as her running apparel and a large group of bridesmaids, friends and family surrounding her as she competes in the 5K (3.1-mile) portion of the annual fundraising event.
Oh, and she’ll have a huge smile on her face.
“We’re using the run for the bachelorette party,” explained Baranyk, a full-time online faculty member at GCU who works at the University’s offices in Tempe and participated in the Run to Fight Children’s Cancer in each of the two previous years.
“The only day my girls could do the bachelorette party was March 9. … But there was no way I was going to miss (the run). It’s such a good cause and GCU puts it on.”
So, instead of making a trip to northern Arizona for a wine-tasting tour, she and her bridesmaids will start their day on the GCU campus, exercising and sweating for a good cause. Later that night, they’ll venture to the Kokopelli Winery & Bistro in Chandler for dinner and a little wine tasting closer to home.
“I thought they might be upset,” Baranyk said of her bridesmaids’ reaction. “But they were all over it. One of them said, ‘Why don’t we theme it?’
“So we’ll have fun, support the kids and look crazy with our ’80s scrunchies (hair pieces) – we’re bringing the side ponytail back! – and bright-colored clothes and leg warmers. … I’m the runaway bride I guess, and the ’80s is my favorite decade.”
Jolene Daw, a fellow GCU full-time online instructor who is one of Baranyk’s bridesmaids, loves the idea of the bachelorette party/run.
“Knowing Andrea as well as I do, it didn’t surprise me at all,” Daw said. “She is always looking for ways to give back. For her birthday, we all did the Climb to Conquer Cancer (a hike at South Mountain put on by the American Cancer Society). Any excuse to get people involved in a good cause, she’ll use it.
|Run to Fight Children’s Cancer
|What:10K run, 5K run/walk and Survivors’ Walk.When: Saturday; 5K starts at 7:30 a.m.; 10K starts at 7:50; Cancer Survivors’ Walk starts at 8:45.
Where: Grand Canyon University.
Registration: Go to www.runtofightcancer.com to register or for more information. Day-of-race registration will be available at GCU Arena starting at 6 a.m.
“Plus, any time you get to dress up and have a theme, it’s even better.”
When news of the bachelorette party started spreading, so did the attendance list, as friends and co-workers joined the cause.
“Some girls asked if they could invite other girls,” Baranyk said. “There will be few girls from out of town I’ve never met. The more the merrier!
“My mother-in-law (Debra McDonald) as well as two future sisters-in-law will be running. My mother-in-law is 58 and is in phenomenal shape. … She wants to win a medal. She’s in it to win it!”
Baranyk’s future husband, Josh Hogan (they’re getting married March 29), will be steering clear of all that estrogen at the bachelorette party, but “he supports me in all of this,” Baranyk said. “He’s used to it.”
In addition to the Run to Fight Children’s Cancer and the Climb to Conquer Cancer, Baranyk also is involved in the Be a Leader Foundation Walk-A-Thon, Feed My Starving Children and GCU’s Fall Festival, among other things.
“Andrea has been an amazing example of what it means to give back to the community here at GCU,” said Jose Moreno, GCU’s community outreach manager and race director for the Run to Fight Children’s Cancer. “It didn’t surprise me when she told me she would be hosting her bachelorette party at our run. She has been an active participant in all of our community outreach programs for the University, and I always look to her to lead the charge and create a buzz among employees.”
Contact Bob Romantic at 639.7611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.