In Memory of "Uncle Pete"


10th Annual Sharon Timlin 5k Race

Hopkinton, Massachusetts

In Memory of "Uncle Pete"

Dear Friends and Family,

I'd like to share a bit of my story and the reason why I choose to raise money for the Sharon Timlin Memorial Race to Cure ALS. Thanks for your support!
Who I am:

I am a Brookline resident and a runner. I live on mile 24 of the marathon route, which has been both a tease and a motivation for me to hit the pavement. I've now run four marathons and countless track events and shorter distant road races since I began running when I was 12 years old.
I am a mother, wife and daughter. I thought life couldn't get any happier when I married my husband, then we met our daughter. We cherish every moment we have with her, and now I understand why my mother cares so much about what I'm up to - even though we live on opposite sides of the country. I will never not worry about my daughter, for as long as I live. I hope I never take a second of my time with my family for granted. They have taught me to appreciate life more than ever before.

What I'm running for:

Up until about 2 years ago, when both of my grandparents passed away within weeks of one another, I'd only lost one very close relative. My godfather Bernie Peterson, a family friend who I affectionately called "Uncle Pete," was taken away viciously when I was just a teenager. His killer was ALS.

Uncle Pete was more like family than godparent. My parents had divorced when I was 5 years old, and my Uncle Pete lived only 10 minutes from my home with my mom. We saw him often. I always loved visiting him because he would talk baseball, make fun fruit drinks and let me run loose around his sprawling gardens.

We saw him more when I was in high school, but not for good reasons. My mom quit her job to take care of him. He had been diagnosed with ALS. This came only after countless doctors' tests to find out why he had trouble getting up to his feet or grasping a hammer and nail. He was a contractor, who built beautiful homes - he needed his physical strength. ALS had begun ravaging his body, though his mind stayed sharp. I remember he used to play Scrabble with my mom (and beat her most times to her dismay!). While he played, he would smoke a cigarette that would eventually burn down and blacken his fingers before he'd let my mom help put it out. He was stubborn. He didn't want help. He didn't want to give in. But he lost the battle.

The night he died, I had driven straight to his house in NY from my college in Rhode Island. I had just finished my first semester, and I was leaving in a blizzard. I made it home in time, both to barely beat the worst of the storm and to say goodbye. Once I got inside, tired and terrified of what was to come, I pulled up a cot near his bedside, where my mom and his family had gathered. Just a couple of hours after I'd fallen into a light sleep, in the darkest hours of the night and the heaviest of the storm, I woke suddenly. I heard my mom crying and whispering to him to go. I ran to his side and watched him take his last breaths. He was suffering. His lungs weren't working any more. His eye lids could no longer blink. He finally took one last breath. The terror was finally over, after more than two years of suffering.

Devastation was immediate and immense. I had just watched my Uncle Pete leave this earth. In many ways he was closer to me than my own father. I'd never forget this moment. I'd never take life for granted. Though I know at times I have.

This is my third year running the Sharon Timlin 5K, all in honor of my Uncle Pete, but it's my first raising money for the cause. It's time. As a wife, mother and daughter, I've finally come to deeply appreciate how meaningful yet fleeting life really is. As a runner, I hope some of my miles can be put to good use. I am here to help support the search for a cure for ALS before this awful disease takes another person's loved one.

Any support is greatly appreciated. Thank you so much!


More about ALS and the race I'll be running:

On June 15, 2013 I will be participating in the 10th Annual Sharon Timlin Memorial 5K Race/Walk to Cure ALS. This will be my third time running. This event raises money towards a cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. ALS is a progressive and fatal neurodegenerative illness that attacks motor neurons. When motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to control muscle movement is lost leading to atrophy and paralysis.
My personal fundraising goal is listed above. Every dollar that I raise will be directed to UMass Medical Center where Dr. Robert Brown and his colleagues are doing groundbreaking research toward a cure for this devastating disease. All donations are tax deductible and company matching contributions are highly appreciated.
In these economic times, I know how difficult it is to donate to every worthy charity. Every dollar donated will truly bring us closer to a cure. Please help me towards the attainable goal of finding a treatment or cure for ALS in our lifetime! Any donation of any amount is greatly appreciated and can be made online by clicking the DONATE button, or if you prefer, please make a check out to "The Angel Fund" and mail it to me. I will add all mailed donations to my site as well.
For more information about ALS, the event, or to register to run, walk or volunteer, please visit:
Thank you!

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