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Miles for Marcie

July 11, 2011

There is currently no Undy 5000 in Boston, but Sheri von Jako wasn’t going to let that stop her from honoring the memory of her friend Marcie Kennedy, who passed away last year from colon cancer. Sheri decided to create a virtual Undy 5000 team, and thus, Miles for Marcie was born.

With 32 team members as of this morning, Miles for Marcie has raised $10,045 in the fight against colon cancer. Not only is that an all-time record for a virtual team, it’s in the all-time top 5 of any team to ever participate in the Undy 5000!

On July 16, 2011, Sheri and her team will run or walk a 5K around Lake Quannapowitt in Wakefield, Massachusetts, exactly one year after Marcie’s passing. Sheri said she knew the anniversary of Marcie’s passing was going to be tough, so instead of doting on the sadness and grieving, she wanted to celebrate Marcie and the life she led. For the past six years, Sheri said Marcie was a great friend and companion, and because their kids are the same age, they spent a lot of time together.

Marcie, Matt, Maeve and Owen

When she was diagnosed at age 37, it was a shock because there was no family history of colon cancer. Marcie wasn’t even experiencing symptoms, and it wasn’t until a grapefruit-sized mass on her liver was found that the doctors realized something was wrong. With a husband and two kids, Marcie wanted to ensure their lives continued on as normal as possible, no matter what was going on in treatment. Sheri said she and many others wanted to help with meals, picking up the kids from school or just dropping by to see what they could do, but Marcie accepted little help, as it would disrupt the normalcy of life. After a courageous battle, just one year after her initial diagnosis, Marcie passed away. She was only 38.

Marcie, Owen and Maeve

Sheri was initially unsure about the idea of a virtual team for Marcie, but after she told Marcie’s mom and husband and they were both on board and excited about it, Sheri went all out. She’s obtained local sponsors, thousands of dollars in donations, and even an official permit to hold the 5K at the lake. When Marcie’s mother showed her grandchildren (and Marcie’s kids) the online page for Miles for Marcie, 5-year-old Maeve and 8-year-old Owen said, “Hey, mom’s on the internet! Cool!”

Sheri’s persistence shows; she said she was doing the 5K no matter what, even if that meant she had to do it without a permit. She plead her case at town hall, and they approved!  The course is a flat, easy one, and Sheri said she hopes more people will come out to participate, even if they don’t want to run. She thinks the response has been overwhelming because of how independent Marcie was and how her friend’s felt that they were unable to do much for her. It’s given people a way to do things, Sheri said.

Marcie’s daughter Maeve designed the artwork for the team T-shirt – a line drawing of an angel. It’s appropriate, Sheri says, as she was the only woman who went to church every Sunday and was always so faithful.

When Marcie was diagnosed, Sheri said she was mad at how unfair it was, and Marcie’s response was, “If it happened to a bad person, what would you learn from that?”

So that’s what Sheri’s learned. Be there for your friends, and by running Miles for Marcie, she feels she can finally honor Marcie the way she deserves.

“There will be no timing; no water stops; nothing but me, and hopefully some of you, running Miles for Marcie. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your support.” – Sheri von Jako

Marcie, Sheri and friend Lori

If you would like to donate to Miles for Marcie, you can visit the team page here. You can also follow the team’s progress and preparation on the Facebook page here.

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