By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer
Westborough- On Sunday, April 28, the Westborough Tennis & Swim Club by Boston Sports Club will hold its 10th annual 5K Walk/Run and 10K Run for Pancreatic Cancer Research to benefit the Lustgarten Foundation.
This event has had such a positive response from the community and continues to grow while raising awareness about this disease and raising funds for research. Hundreds of participants sign up each year, whether they are walking, running or volunteering. Children are also welcome to join the free Kids’ Fun Run and enjoy a craft table.
While the 10K is for runners only, the 5K is walker and stroller friendly. There will be two different routes depending on which distance each participant chooses. Pets are not permitted.
Maria Rydelek, Angela Callery and Cheryl Avola, have been working tirelessly to prepare for this year’s event and they are grateful for the support of so many local businesses and organizations like Dunkin Donuts, Toll Brothers, Bruins, Boston hotels, Arturo’s, Wegmans, Spatique, H2O, Stop and Shop, Roche Brothers and so many more. Northstar Ice sports and Emseal allow for parking, at least 100 National Honor Society volunteers from Westborough High School help and the school’s a cappella group will sing the National Anthem to start the race.
“We as volunteers with a dedication to finding a cure for this disease are so grateful for past and present support of local businesses, volunteers and participants. Our hope with this event is to continue to generate much needed research funds, heighten public awareness of diagnosis, treatment and prevention and one day find a cure,” said Callery.
“In 2007, my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given four months to live. She passed away after a yearlong battle,” Rydelek explained. “We had no idea what her diagnosis would mean for her or us as a family. The statistics are devastating. Throughout the year of her treatment, I was taken aback by how little information was really out there.”
Through her mother’s battle, she discovered the Lustgarten Foundation, America’s largest private foundation dedicated to funding pancreatic cancer research based in Woodbury, NY. Her family participated in a walk in Boston to benefit the foundation. “That sparked the idea to bring the walk to Westborough in the spring 2010,” Rydelek said. “Over the past nine years, we have raised more than $600,000, which is remarkable. This is like therapy for me and it’s a way for me to honor my mother. This event is near and dear to my heart.”
According to Callery, MIT and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute target pancreatic cancer with two dedicated laboratories, a $10 million investment funded by the Lustgarten Foundation.
Individual racers and teams may participate in the event. Teams will be asked to donate a raffle basket with the proceeds donated to the Lustgarten Foundation.
Check-in begins at 8 a.m. The Kids’ Fun Run begins at 9 a.m. and the 10K and 5K Walk/Run begins at 9:30 a.m.