As September, or Blood Cancer Awareness Month, draws to a close, several staff members in the School District of the Chathams are deep in training—and fundraising—for a full and half marathon for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
A core group of staff members from Chatham Middle School came together in June to begin training and fundraising for the marathon, which takes place in Philadelphia on Sunday, Nov. 18.
Since then their numbers have swelled to 13 teachers, paraprofessionals and administrators who decided to run after they, their families', their friends' and their colleagues' lives were touched by lymphoma and leukemia.
Touched by their efforts, Superintendent Dr. Michael LaSusa, who can often be seen running around Chatham Township, also joined the group.
In order to participate, the runners must raise $27,250, a slight discount under the full fee of $2,000 per runner. As of Wednesday they are at 54 percent of their goal, with $12,606.42 left to go.
Those participating in the marathon are:
- Kelly Bray
- Sue Butler
- Nick Cicarelli
- Debby Connon, whose nephew died of leukemia at 16
- Stephanie Coviello
- Lauren Flood
- Doree Kesselbrenner, whose son is a 21-year survivor of leukemia
- Megan Keown
- Michael LaSusa
- Lisa McTague
- Carole Soder
- Peter Trebour, who runs in honor of a friend's mother who died of leukemia
- Julie Ullmeyer
- and Gail Walsh.
The team has a page through the Team In Training website where people can donate, and they have also been out in the community.
"We've been outside of Dunkin' Donuts begging people for money as they go by. We've been at the Farmers Market," Debby Connon, usually seen in the CMS main office, said. "We'll be doing Kings in a couple of weeks."
Trebour said the team has also done a business sponsorship with IYO Yogurt, a frozen yogurt store that will open in Chatham Township later this year. IYO will offer coupons that will donate 20 percent of their sales for a week in October to the runners.
Doree Kesselbrenner said there will also be a yoga fundraiser for students and families on Oct. 3 in the middle school gymnasium. Prices are $10 for individuals, $15 for families.
Family members and fellow staff members have also donated funds to the team, including Assistant Principal Rob Gardella, who cannot run in the marathon but plans to be at the finish line with his wife to congratulate the team.
"I was kind of moved by the amount of people who volunteered to do this, and I wanted to show my support," Gardella said.
"I think you really want that at the finish line, to see a friendly face," Kesselbrenner said.
The team will also have a presence at CMS's Back to School Night Thursday, and will hold a raffle for Giants tickets and a bake sale as they attempt to reach their fundraising goal.
To learn how these teachers and administrators train to run a full or half marathon, check back with Chatham Patch on Friday.