Lakota West senior attempts to break world record while raising money for non-profit

Her strength of character combined with her physical strength is what sets this Lakota West senior apart. Ali Hausfeld is currently preparing to break the Guinness World Record for Fastest Half-Marathon Dressed as an Emoji in order to raise awareness and funds for The Dragonfly Foundation.


The Dragonfly Foundation provides support services to young cancer and bone marrow transplant patients and their families in the Cincinnati, Dayton and Chicago areas. Hausfeld has been volunteering for several years, leading efforts such as the Birthday Card Program—sending birthday notes to patients each month—and now attempting to break a world record in their honor. 


“I’ve seen cancer take away so many things,” Hausfeld says, “but Dragonfly brings back smiles and hope. I love being able to help give those things, too.”


Hausfeld and a small group of her peers serve as student ambassadors at Lakota West High School to The Dragonfly Foundation. A similar program is in place at Lakota East High School. The goal is to expand ambassador programs like these to other high schools in the area.


“I hope we’ve set an example for future students to continue service projects with energy, and one day be able to network between high schools for greater impact,” Hausfeld says.


It’s not surprising that Hausfeld’s impact is already recognized throughout the organization. Her humility and positive energy are two of the first things you’ll notice about her.


“Ali has shown all of the attributes a non-profit wants in a volunteer: responsible, dedicated, enthusiastic and kind,” explains Jen Morand, Community Relations Specialist for The Dragonfly Foundation. “We know she is doing a great job because of pictures and ‘thank you’ notes we receive from Dragonfly families.”


Hausfeld’s idea to race in an emoji costume was inspired by the Dragonfly mission to “spread smiles.” In preparation for her record-breaking race during this month’s Cincinnati Flying Pig Half Marathon, Hausfeld has been training in smaller races, including West Chester’s Shamrock Shuffle 10K. If you saw a giant yellow smiley during the Shamrock Shuffle, that was Hausfeld. Her friends and family are supporting the senior as mile marker captains. Their job is to not only take photos along the way to document her race for Guinness, but also to raise additional funds for Dragonfly.


“Since you can’t always interact with the patients and their families directly due to health reasons, raising money and awareness is the best way to help The Dragonfly Foundation,” Hausfeld explains.


The Lakota West student’s passion for helping others is obvious in her efforts to keep spreading smiles—both on and off the race track.


You can support Hausfeld’s campaign by donating or cheering her on at the race. Be sure to follow her racing accomplishments on Twitter: @WestDragonfly and #SpreadSmilesForDragonfly.

I hope we’ve set an example for future students to continue service projects like these with energy.