ES-M team honors classmate at race

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.

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