Written by Karen Gellender Friday, 15 October 2010 00:00
Jeff Blick of Syosset is not planning on beating his time from the 1996 New York City Marathon of 3 hours and 52 minutes when he runs the race again this November. In fact, his time isn’t terribly important, since he’s primarily running to raise $25,000 dollars for pancreatic cancer research- although a time somewhere between four and four and a half hours would be nice, he said.
After watching his friend and fraternity brother Robert Hafter’s mother, Rona Hafter, die of pancreatic cancer in May of 2009, Blick felt compelled to action. “You know, I wasn’t “close” with his mom, but he was my best friend in the world and he was a momma’s boy, so I got to know her pretty well,” said Blick fondly. “She was just a sweet, wonderful woman that got diagnosed with a ridiculous disease that took her life in about six months.”
He was already aware of the Lustgarten Foundation, and knew that people were making donations to the charity in Rona’s memory. Realizing that running the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 7 was a good way to raise money for a charity, Jeff asked mutual friend Brian Miller of Dix Hills to join him in the effort to honor their friend’s mother, and the Run for Rona was born.
Now, the two SUNY Albany fraternity brothers are attempting to raise $25,000 for the Lustgarten Foundation together as they go the distance at the New York City Marathon. Blick said that he felt particularly comfortable working with the Lustgarten Foundation, since the charity’s administrative costs are taken care of by Cablevision, meaning that all funds donated go to charity as opposed to being diverted to operating costs. At the time of his conversation with Anton Newspapers, Blick said that donators had already pledged over $17,000.
In addition to raising money, Blick said that he and Miller hope to help raise awareness about pancreatic cancer, a disease he feels many people know little about.
No stranger to running, the 40-year-old financial advisor is training for the event by running five days a week, as well as dedicating one day a week to a longer run to get in marathon-ready shape. Some of his favorite places to run are the hilly SUNY Old Westbury campus, Clearview Village, Jones Beach, and of course, the Syosset High School track.
To learn more about the Run for Rona, or to contribute, visit the website at www.lustgarten.org/runforrona.