Tonya Bakewell Dreher wins Greg Farrell Award

  • Tonya Bakewell Dreher at Mount Everest base camp.

  • Tonya Bakewell Dreher at Ghorepani in the Annapurna Mountains. Courtesy photos

  • A Nepalese boy with his mother and supplies the Hope for Gus Foundation coordinated for COVID relief for families.

Published: 1/24/2023 11:17:59 AM

Tonya Bakewell Dreher, director of the Hope for Gus Foundation, has been named the recipient of the 2022 Greg Farrell Award.

This annual award honors the life and legacy of Gregory Farrell, a founder of Outward Bound Schools, EL Education (formerly Expeditionary Learning) and the executive director of the Fund for the City of New York. The award was established by a group of Farrell’s former colleagues at NYC Outward Bound Schools.

The selection committee noted that they were especially inspired and impressed by the remarkable work Dreher is doing to combat Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a genetic disease her son was diagnosed with 12 years ago. According to the award’s website, “Like Greg, she is a relentless visionary who overcomes obstacles to get things done, always with conviction, creativity and above all, compassion. She has been tremendously tenacious and entrepreneurial in her efforts — establishing, with her husband, Steve, the Hope for Gus Foundation to raise awareness and fund research for a cure or treatment for DMD.”

Soon after establishing the foundation, Dreher launched the flagship fundraiser “Everest to End Duchenne,” leading treks to Mount Everest base camp as a symbol of the physical limitations boys with Duchenne face.

Hope for Gus founding board member Louise Danforth stated, “I am continuously inspired by the work Tonya does to improve the lives of those with DMD in the U.S. and Nepal. She forges ahead with compassion, creativity and a sense of commitment that is at times unfathomable in the face of what she and all families endure with this disease.”

After every Everest to End Duchenne trek, the Hope for Gus Foundation gives a portion of funds raised to a muscular dystrophy home in Nepal. She recently organized a crowdfunding campaign to raise the money needed to build a more-accessible home so that the boys can live and learn in a safe environment. Future plans include assessing needs for medical equipment and transportation, learning materials and technology. Additionally, upon learning of the lack of teachers and supplies at her guides’ village schools in rural Nepal, Dreher connected the school to an organization that funded the hiring of teachers and educational materials.

“Tonya is so deserving of this award,” stated Danforth. “The Hope for Gus board of directors is so grateful to the Greg Farrell Award committee for this profound recognition.”

For information on the Hope for Gus Foundation, visit hopeforgus.org. For information on the Greg Farrell Award, visit nycoutwardbound.org/the-greg-farrell-award.


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