The spirit of Katie McBride seemed present on Sunday, June 26, as nearly 1,000 runners and walkers participated under a sunny sky in the seventh annual event to benefit the Ronald McDonald House in memory of the young cancer victim.
“You feel her presence in the air. I told her to give us good weather,” said Michael McBride, Katie’s father and director of the New Hyde Park Funeral Home.
McBride and his wife Jeanne spent several months at the Ronald McDonald House, adjacent to North Shore-LIJ Hospital during their daughter’s final days of treatment at the hospital.
Katie McBride lost her battle against a rare form of cancer, Burkitt’s Lymphoma, in 2008 when she was 11 years old.
New Hyde Park Mayor Robert Lofaro said it’s a special event because it includes so many local organizations collaborating to support the event, which comprises a 5K run and 2K walk.
“It brings all of them together for one purpose,” Lofaro said.
The event has a personal meaning for Lofaro whose brother, Joseph, died from leukemia when he was 15 years old.
Those community organizations and businesses include the New Hyde Park Funeral Home, the New Hyde Park Fire Department, the Knights of Columbus, the Lions Club, the Gladiator Fund, the Sons of Italy Cellini Lodge #2206 and the Inn at New Hyde Park as participants and sponsors. The Village of New Hyde Park, Nassau County Legislator Richard Nicollelo (R-New Hyde Park), Ambassador Protection Services and the Nassau County
Detective Association also support the event.
McBride is a former detective in the New York City Police Department.
New Hyde Park resident Tom Condron, a sophomore member of the St. John’s University track club, finished third in the 5K run with a time of 18.08.
He said he came out “to help the cause of Katie” and “just for a fun run.”
Katie Hiller, a former Nassau County Police Department officer who was vice president of the NCPD Running Club during her nine years on the force, turned in a time of 21.14 as the leading New Hyde Park runner among the women.
“I love all the people. I like the fun of it,” she said.
Joe Salo, 69, a member of the New Hyde Park-Mineola Runners Club, said he makes a point of running in events such as Katie’s Run, notwithstanding the heat.
“Even if I don’t want to run, I come out for the cause,” Salo said.
Nick Mosesso, former NCPD officer, has participated in Katie’s Run since its inception, initially leading the runners at the race’s start on his bicycle as a local problem-oriented police officer. This year, he was one of the runners.
“It’s a natural progression to stay involved,” said Mosesso, who spearheads the annual St. Baldrick’s Day event to benefit juvenile cancer research.
The event, overseen by the Katie McBride Foundation (www.katiemcbridefoundation.org), has raised $146,000 since 2010—not including this year’s event—to benefit the Ronald McDonald House, which has long been a haven for parents whose children are under treatment for life-threatening illnesses. The event also honors the families of young victims of leukemia and other diseases.
Runners and walkers pay registration fees between $15 and $25 to contribute to the effort.
“It’s an awesome way to remember her. And it’s great that so many people come out for it,” said Patrick McBride, Katie’s older brother.
A Ronald McDonald fun run for children, with Ronald McDonald presiding, is also part of the event in Memorial Park, the finishing point for the runners and walkers who set out each year after opening ceremonies outside the New Hyde Park Funeral Home on Lakeville Road.
Food at the event was donated by the Sakowich family from the Inn at New Hyde Park. Hall Carpet provided tents, tables and chairs, and City Line Florist donated flowers for the female winners.
The event also drew to the park a large crowd of residents who bid on raffle prizes and bought Katie’s Run shirts and caps to help the fundraising effort.
“It’s gone beyond Katie. It’s become a real community event,” McBride said.