The Garden City Teachers Association's (GCTA) second annual “GC For A Cure” event April 2 raised $17,000 for the fight against cancer ($16,000 will benefit Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and $1,000 will be donated to Uniting Against Lung Cancer).
The race ushered in spring weather as over 1,500 participants, spanning the generations, walked, ran or decorated kites for this worthy cause. The day kicked off with a 1.5 mile fun run/walk followed by a timed 5K run/walk.
Once again Uniting Against Lung Cancer hosted “Kites for a Cure” where young and old decorated and created original kites. Proceeds from this initiative helps support their lung cancer research grant program.
Stratford School teacher and race director Kerry Calvert called the race a huge success. Calvert’s mission was conceived after her father died of lung cancer in 2006. As a Garden City teacher she wanted to bring fellow teachers, district children and the community together for a charity event.
“This is our second year and I’m amazed at how the entire community has come together to make a difference in the world of cancer research,” said Calvert.
Andrew Morra, a sophomore at Garden City High School, placed first in the 5K with a time of 16:36.5; Gerarld O’Hara of East Rockaway came in second with a time of 16:43.8; and Daniel Finnegan, a sophomore at Garden City High School, came in third with a time of 16:55.8.
Amidst the fun and festivities a reminder of how many Americans have been touched by cancer came in the form of the many running bibs created in memory or in honor of family or friends. John Paul Welch, a seventh grader at Garden City Middle School, ran in honor of his grandparents. Bridget Strysko, also a seventh grader at the middle school, ran in memory of her grandmother, Margaret Mary Kane.
Homestead kindergarten teacher Donna Welch, John Paul’s mother, recalled how both of her parents, George and Marie Brandt, battled cancer. Her father had renal cancer and her mother had lymphoma twice. Sadly, they lost a daughter who succumbed to leukemia at the age of 37. The Brandts attended the race to cheer their grandson on; with 11 children, 40 grandchildren and two great grandchildren they have a lot to live for.
“Life is great,” said Marie Brandt. “We were fortunate to have good doctors but there is still more work to be done and that’s why we support these charities.”
The Murphy family participated in the race in honor of mother and grandmother, Alison Murphy, who is currently fighting lung cancer. Murphy is a graduate of Garden City High School and will be celebrating her 45th reunion this year.
“We were looking to do something together as a family to raise funds for cancer and this was perfect,” said Murphy.
Local businesses embraced the effort. Giuseppe and Marisa Ruta of La Bottega donated pasta dinners on the Friday evening before the race. The Donnelly Group donated and distributed water bottles to thirsty runners and many more supported the event.
“It is my pleasure to help the community and this worthy cause,” said Marisa Ruta.
Many students participated and helped raise funds too, including high school senior Walter Levchuk, who sold over 800 ‘GC For A Cure’ magnets. He also encouraged many neighbors and friends to participate in the race.
Welch summed up the day perfectly: “It was a beautiful day and a tribute to all those who’ve been afflicted with cancer.”
For further information regarding the race visit GCFORACURE@Gmail.com.