Race Draws Regional Support for Cancer Victims

Marie Kijowski gathers with members of the VFW in Pattonville in anticipation of the annual Race for a Cure.  (KP 2015 File Photo)

The 8th annual Janine Kijowski Race for the Cure is scheduled for this Saturday at the VFW Post 4843 in Pattonville.

Race Coordinator Marie Kijowski held the first benefit back in 2010 when her sister-in-law was first diagnosed with cancer.

“Janine was diagnosed with stage 4 large aggressive B-cell lymphoma. Janine had the main insurance for the family. When she was diagnosed, she could no longer go to work, and therefore lost her insurance,” Marie explained.

To help pay for cancer treatments and medications, Marie’s first fundraiser raised $43,000.

“As she was progressively getting ill, she said to us, ‘Whatever happens, can you please help the people who helped me. You need to continue.’  So from that day, we have continued to pay it forward.”

Two individuals are chosen each year to receive assistance. This year, Laurie Cochran Beabout and Joe Hartman were selected as recipients. With this year’s recipients, that brings the total number of cancer victims receiving assistance to 23. Their names appear on the back of the teeshirt along with the number “47” – the age of Janine when she passed away.

In the past, there have been as many as 100 runners. This year, Marie said she expects at least 60 runners to register from Armstrong County and beyond.

“We have runners from Allegheny, Westmoreland, Butler. We have had some in the past from York, PA.”

Pre-registration is at 7:30 AM with the 3.1-mile race beginning promptly at 9AM. Registration fee is $25 and includes race, teeshirt, and picnic. For those wishing to come only for the picnic at Noon, the cost is $15.

The race starts and ends at the VFW.

For more information, call 724-664-6242.