Immune to Cancer: The CRI Blog




Voices Amongst the Crowd at 2018 TCS New York City Marathon

On Sunday, November 4, 2018, 50,000 runners hit the streets of New York for the TCS New York City Marathon. The energy was electric; runners strode along the course chasing personal records and spectators waited on the sidelines with signs and smiles to cheer on their friends and family.

Zea McKenzie's Family cheering her on at 2018 NYC Marathon
Zea McKenzie's family cheering her on at the 2018 NYC Marathon.

When Zea McKenzie approached Mile 8, she was greeted by the boisterous shouts of encouragement from her family. Aunts, sisters, nieces, nephews, and her husband outstretched their arms for a moment’s embrace to revel in her feat. At this point, she had only run a third of the course but her accomplishments stretched beyond 26.2 miles. Strangers nearby were enthralled by the scene as well. The enlarged photo of a toothy-smile woman whose eyes beamed with an inner joy was held up high by Zea’s family and rivaled the nearby Mile 8 mark for the superlative of most eye-catching sign. The woman in the photograph wasn’t Zea or anyone amongst the crowd that balmy morning. She was Mom D, the matriarch of the McKenzie family who lost her battle to cancer years earlier. For Zea, running the TCS NYC Marathon to benefit the Cancer Research Institute was the ultimate way to honor her life and others who have both been afflicted with cancer.

Zea McKenzie embraces family at the 8 Mile mark at the 2018 NYC Marathon
Zea McKenzie embraces family at the Mile 8 mark at the 2018 NYC Marathon. 

Zea’s story is just one of many from the 16 Team CRI runners whose personal journey to this year’s marathon consisted of physical and mental challenges. While they were united by months of dedicated training and fundraising, individually, they carried personal reasons for running.

Wesley Elford running at the 2018 NYC Marathon.
Wesley Elford (in white) running at the 2018 NYC Marathon.

Californian and military veteran Joseph Buccino lost his father to colon cancer and chose CRI after researching charities and finding that the organization has lead the field of immunotherapy for more than six decades and has done so in a fiscally responsible manner consistently. He further expressed that supporting CRI, where more dollars go to research and medical education programs than overhead expenses was vitally important. This sentiment propelled Joseph’s fundraising efforts and helped him crowdfund in his father’s memory.

Joseph Buccino (right) smiles as he runs the 2018 NYC Marathon.
Joseph Buccino (right) smiles as he runs the 2018 NYC Marathon.

Together, our runners raised an impressive total of $110,000 to support the efforts of the Cancer Research Institute.

Associate Board member Jack Griffith turns as his supporters call his name at the 2018 NYC Marathon.
Associate Board and Team CRI member Jack Griffith turns as supporters call his name at the 2018 NYC Marathon.

To be a part of history in the fight against cancer, contact [email protected] to be the first to know about Team CRI 2019 charity races or how you can create your own event to support CRI.

Rebecca Geary (middle) runs the 2018 NYC Marathon.
Rebecca Geary (middle) runs the 2018 NYC Marathon.

Kamal poses with 2018 NYC Marathon medal.
Kamal poses with her 2018 NYC Marathon medal. She wanted to challenge herself physically and mentally and fundraised in memory of Professor Kavita Datla, her mentor and thesis advisor at Mount Holyoke College.

Run with Team CRI

Lauren Fortunato, CRI Community Fundraiser: I chose to run for CRI because my best friend lost her mother back in September to lung cancer.

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