At an early age, Bronxville cross country and track star Emilie Hoffer learned that certain things in life shouldn’t be taken for granted.
Not things such as a car, heat and air conditioning, but things such as sight and her health.
Hoffer, this week’s Con Edison Athlete of the Week, volunteers with The Global Medical Relief Fund, a Staten Island-based program that helps to medically and psychologically rehabilitate children from war-torn nations.
“That was, by far, the most eye-opening experience I’ve ever had,” said Hoffer, a senior who carries a 3.46 grade-point average. “Watching them live their everyday lives and adjusting so late in life … it made me think about the little complications I run into in life, and they don’t even equate to what they have to deal with.”
Hoffer recalled watching two boys, each around 16 years old, from different nations bring friendship to a completely different level. One boy from Iraq, who had lost his sight after a car bomb exploded two years prior, befriended a boy from India, who had lost both of his arms after being struck by lightning while flying a kite.
Hoffer said the two became each other’s eyes and arms, working together to overcome their horrific injuries.
“These kids, who have some sort of disability, find each other’s strengths and build off of it,” said Hoffer, who organized an event that raised $100,000 for the program.
Leading by example is nothing new for Hoffer, who along with teammate Courtney Campbell became the first girls to run on five state-championship-winning cross country teams.
Hoffer gives much of the credit for her and Bronxville’s success to coach Jim Mitchell.
“It’s amazing how in this 1 square mile, he’s found so many girls who are enthusiastic about the sport,” said Hoffer, referring to the size of the village. “It’s a testament to how well Mitchell has kept us healthy and quick over the last five years.”