Sep 30, 2009 Caitlin Donnelly Uncategorized
Three schools in the East Syracuse-Minoa School District will be participating in the 17th annual Syracuse Festival of Races on Sunday Oct 4, in memory of their classmate, Jeffrey Talbot.
Students and families from Woodland Elementary, Pine Grove Middle School and ES-M High School will represent Team Jeffrey in the MVP Health Care 3K Fun & Fitness Run. Festival participants have the option of collecting pledges for the organization of their choice, and Team Jeffrey is raising money for the Jonathan Cancer Fund.
The Jonathan Cancer Fund is a non-profit organization in Onondaga County that provides financial assistance to families of children battling cancer, said Shelly Chizzonite, school councilor at Woodland.
Chizzonite said the Jonathan Cancer Fund was chosen because “it is strictly a not-for-profit organization.” Donations go directly to the families, with no overhead fees. All proceeds raised by Team Jeffrey will be in honor of Jeffery Talbot.
In August 2008, Talbot was diagnosed with NUT (nuclear protein in testis) midline carcinoma, a rare and rapidly progressing cancer. On August 6 of this year, he passed away at age 11. Talbot would have been in the sixth grade at Pine Grove Middle School.
“He was a great kid and took everything as it came,” Chizzonite said. “We wanted to do something to honor Jeffrey, so we were going to organize our own race. But when someone brought up the Festival of Races, we decided to do that instead because everything is already planned out and you just have to worry about the fundraising.”
At the time of the interview, Chizzonite said there hadn’t yet been a large turn out, but students and their families had until Sept. 28 to sign up.
“I haven’t thought about how much money we would like to raise, but if 50 people come out, that would be great,” she said.
The 3K Fun & Fitness Run begins at 10:45 a.m. on Colvin Street, outside of Manley Field House. Last year, the 3K drew about 2,000 participants, said Dave Oja, race director.
“There are way too many small events competing to raise funds out there,” he said. “With one race where you can pick any non-profit organization to fundraise for, it’s a much better use of resources.”
The festival also hosts mens and womens 5Ks, the Community Walk and the newest race, the Fitness Forum/ SOS Joint Replacement Run.
“Overall, the Festival of Races has everything a good road walking and running race should have,” Oja said. “It appeals to everyone: the old, the young, the untrained, the athlete, the runner. It’s really what you make of it.”
To sign up for a race, visit on FestivalofRaces.com. Registration on the day of the race begins at 7:30 a.m. at Manley Field House on Colvin Street. For questions and concerns, contact Dave Oja at email@example.com.
Caitlin Donnelly is a Syracuse University intern majoring in journalism.