Day Kimball Healthcare's 21st Annual Deary Memorial Race, Walk & Ride Raises More Than $54,000 for Cancer Care

September 7, 2010

Runners line up to begin the 5-mile race at the 21st Annual Day Kimball Healthcare Deary Memorial Race, Walk & Ride.

PUTNAM, CT – On August 14, 2010 the 21st Annual Day Kimball Healthcare Deary Memorial Race, Walk & Ride raised more than $54,000 to benefit the Day Kimball Healthcare Deary Memorial Cancer Fund. Nearly 270 runners, 250 walkers, 215 cyclists, 20 kids and 100 volunteers participated in the event.

Lloyd Matthews of Webster, MA took first place in the road race with Eric Bonnette of Haddonfield, NJ in second and Breton Bonnette also from Haddonfield in third place. Ladies coming in at the top were Laura Pagnozzi of Scituate, RI, Jill Vollweiler of Pomfret and Kerri Ruffo of Plainfield. Cycling’s Team Longmeadow won the award for most pledges raised while Doug Porter of Woodstock Building Associates received the “Spirit Award” for his enthusiasm and generosity.

This year’s ambassador was Day Kimball Healthcare employee, Heidi Blackmar. Blackmar was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and has since undergone surgery and chemotherapy all while keeping pace as a wife, working mother of four and volunteer. She has been employed at Day Kimball for eight years and currently works at the front reception desk. She is also a member of the “Well Wishers” group at Day Kimball, raising funds for oncology patients and acts as the American Cancer Society liaison bringing the Look Good…Feel Better® program to this area. Blackmar walked the course in 2009 days after receiving treatment and again in 2010 as the ambassador.

The annual “Grammie Deary Service Recognition Award” was given to Southern New England Road Race Officials (SNERRO) in recognition of their dedication, enthusiasm and support. The “Tom Deary, Jr. Spirit of Humanity Award” went to Mark and Karen Kaylor of Putnam for their outstanding leadership and providing a positive role model for others in the community.

Those collecting pledges this year decided to challenge themselves and the community. Runner, Scott Deslongchamps, ran 50 miles for the event beginning at midnight before the event began. Deslongchamps ran the course nine times before the race and joined in for one more run at 9:05 a.m. with the other runners. When Deslongchamps was on WINY radio station, he raised more than $2,000 in just over an hour.

Karyn DiBonaventura, owner of Longmeadow Automotive, collected pledges for the event and recently cut her hair to donate to Wigs for Kids. When the community learned about her efforts, they jumped in to support the worthy cause. David Conrad, president of The Citizens National Bank pledged to shave his beard if she collected $2,000. Lauren Konicki, daughter of Putnam Police Sergeant, Lee Konicki, also cut her hair and donated it to Wigs for Kids. Sergeant Konicki proposed that if $3,000 was raised, he would shave off his mustache as well. While total pledges surpassed the goal coming in at $3,100 raised, the community members made good on their promises and shaved accordingly.

“Each year I am more inspired by the people in our community,” said Pat Hedenberg, event manager. “Hundreds of participants come together time after time each year to support one another and to join in the fight against cancer. I’d like to express my sincere appreciation for all of the generosity in our community.”

The event culminated the 2010 fundraising series for the Day Kimball Healthcare Deary Memorial Cancer Fund, bringing the 2010 grand total to more than $89,000. Events earlier in the year included Day Kimball Healthcare’s Guest Bartender Night, Cruisin’ for Cancer Care and the Spring Gala.

The Deary Memorial Road Race & Walk began in 1990 quickly becoming a hallmark community gathering each August. In 2009, cycling “Ride” categories were added and the event was renamed the Day Kimball Healthcare Deary Memorial Race, Walk & Ride. Over the years, the event has raised over $920,000 to provide preventive services and cancer treatment such as mammograms, ultrasounds, medications, travel and surgical procedures for people in the local community needing financial assistance. The fundraiser also supports The Tom C. Deary Jr. Scholarship awarded to students pursuing a career in radiology. Additional fundraising activities to support the Deary Memorial Race, Walk & Ride begin prior to the event with a Guest Bartender and Activities Night Kick-Off.

Throughout the summer months, businesses and individuals alike from all areas of the northeast corner of Connecticut come together to remember, celebrate and honor both cancer survivors and those taken from us by cancer. It’s through the support of many that the Day Kimball Healthcare Deary Memorial Cancer Fund is able to change the life of an individual.