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Getting Ready for the Next 3 Months!

August 12, 2011

Sorry we haven’t written in quite some time! It’s been a little hectic at the Colon Cancer Alliance/Undy 5000 office.

We finally wrapped up the Jersey Shore Undy, and we’re waiting with baited breath to see how next week’s Tacoma Undy goes (there’s still time to register!) Philly is just on the horizon on September 10, then we have Cincinnati and Dallas in October, and then 3 CONSECUTIVE weekends in Washington DC, Atlanta and Phoenix!

Who wants to help out? (Seriously!) We can use all the hands we can get! Email me if you’re interested – eehrlich@ccalliance.org.

Jersey ended up being fantastic! Despite temperatures that could fry an egg (in the shell!) we had more than 660 people show up to run at the most beautiful venue in Jersey! They helped raise more than $80,000, too! Here are some highlights from Jersey.

 

"Strollin' for the :" was super excited to be running on the beach!

Running through the water spray, provided by the local fire department.

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Boxers or Briefs?

July 29, 2011

What do YOU prefer?

Miles for Marcie – Update

July 26, 2011

Miles for Marcie has officially become the top fundraising team in Undy 5000 history!

$13,212

On July 16, Sheri Von Jako and her “virtual” Undy 5000 team ran in honor of Marcie Kennedy, a friend who passed away from colon cancer at the age of  38. I say “virtual,” because this team was anything but! About 120 people participated in an actual 5K at Lake Quannapowitt in Wakefield, Massachusetts to show their support of Marcie and her family. A balloon release started the event, and Sheri said “I looked across the park and saw a sea of smiling faces so much larger than I could have ever dreamed of. There were so many of you and I am so grateful!”

Here are some pictures from the event. Congratulations, Sheri and Miles for Marcie!

More photos from Denver

July 14, 2011

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.

“Surviving wasn’t enough – I wanted to conquer”

July 6, 2011

Keely Dekoskie conquered stage 3 colon cancer at 34 years old. In May, seven months after being labeled in remission, she conquered her first half marathon. Two weeks ago, just 1.5 years after being diagnosed, she ran the 2011 Denver Undy 5000 and raised $5,125 to help fight colon cancer. Impressive, right?

Keely, husband Steve, and 3-year-old Donovan

Keely’s team, “Kiss My Asphalt!” (which she said was a name thrown out by her friend Tasha as a response to the disease) helped raise an additional $2,020 for a grand total of $7,145 for the Undy 5000. The team made T-shirts (below), incorporating the mountains and running. And if you look closely, in the bottom left of the circle and above the sidewalk, the initials “GJA” are written out, an homage to a friend of Keely’s who passed away from colon cancer.

All 14 members of the team have in some way been affected by colon cancer, she said, whether it was through her connection or another family member or friend.

She said while she was going through chemotherapy and radiation, she tried to live as normal a life as possible, and while it was no longer about fighting day-to-day for her survival, it became more about getting back to a healthy and fit point.

“My idea of conquering was not letting the disease take anything more from me than I had any choice in,” Keely said. “I have a three-year-old, Donovan. When I was going through treatment, I got pity looks. For me, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. He was instant inspiration, and it made it easier in a lot of ways.”

Donovan, donning the team sign, some awesome shades and a juice box.

Keely said the diagnosis came as a shock to her since there was no family history of colon cancer at all. To ease the burden of calling and explaining the whole situation to family and friends, Keely decided to start a blog where she could share her successes and stories.  To read more about her courageous fight and diagnosis, you can view her blog here: http://keelydekoskie.blogspot.com/

As for her fundraising super powers, Keely said the key was just leveraging her networks. She said she also made it a point during her year of treatment to never pull the cancer card. But by reaching out and asking people to support her, the cause and her team, she said the response was overwhelming. After sending out just a couple of emails and Facebook messages (she expected to them to join her in their underwear on June 25!), she received quite an outpouring of support. Even her VP responded and said yes, and he also donated to her.

Last year, Keely was in the midst of treatment and too sick to run in the Undy 5000. This year, not only did she run it, she told it to …

Happy July 4th Weekend!

July 1, 2011

Team Undy 5000 and the Colon Cancer Alliance would like to wish you a very safe, happy and healthy 4th of July weekend! We hope you’ll be able to spend it with those you love, and maybe even do a little running together to train for an upcoming Undy 5000. 🙂

Fireworks in our nation's capital and the Undy 5000 headquarters!