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WEB EXCLUSIVE After eight years of serving the community flavorful frothy lattes, healthy salads and sandwiches, and those to-die-for hot mini donuts, Sola Coffee Cafe needs your help.
In 2018, co-owner Jeanne Luther—who opened Sola with her husband, John, in 2012—was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease, a progressive degenerative disease that destorys the neurons controlling voluntary muscle in the body. Jeanne is now confined to a wheelchair and, eventually, will not be able to breathe and swallow on her own.
In an effort to raise money towards a cure for the devastating disease, Sola will host its 7th annual Hot Mini 5K virtually this Saturday, September 19. (Due to COVID, the original event that was planned for March had to be rescheduled and can’t be held in person.) This marks the second year that Sola has raised money towards curing ALS; in the first five years, the 5K benefited Wounded Warriors, as Jeanne’s dad was shot and injured while fighting in the Korean War.
Because the event is virtual, participants have been able to join in on the 5K from wherever they have been, starting on September 14 and running through September 21, while performing whatever form of exercise they’d like. John says some people have opted to swim or even paddle board their three miles while others are running or walking. As of September 17, 894 runners from all over the country have signed up. John hopes to raise over $50,000.
Participants must enter their race times on Sola’s FS series site by Monday, after which Sola will randomly give out prizes to participants, including the signature “I believe in Jeanne” T-shirts and gift cards donated by fellow local businesses. All the money raised from the event will be sent to the NC ALS Association, Duke ALS (where Jeanne goes for treatment), ALS TDI and Project ALS.
After opening Sola’s patio in early June, John says many customers who come in ask about how Jeanne is doing and if she’s there to say hi. Although Sola is promoting everything for the Sola Hot Mini 5K through social media, John says the community has continued to be supportive; though the 5K organizers won’t be able to get together with the race participants in person, there’s a different type of meaningful connection they’ve been able to make online. “We’ve always loved everyone that’s come in here and we have a great relationship with the community,” John says. “[This year’s Hot Mini 5K] will be a different experience, but still an important and intimate one.”
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