By Maria Pennisi, Race Director

I’ll never forget the moment in August of 2001, when I first learned my father was diagnosed with Leukemia. Knowing nothing about the illness at that time, I honestly remember my first thought foolishly being “he’ll be ok; at least it’s not cancer.”

How wrong I was.

He spent the better part of the next six months in the hospital receiving treatments, and fighting ruthless infections. Driving to visit him each night, I vowed that when he got better I would do everything within my means to help find a cure.

Hence the Sprint was created; and now after 14 years, we have raised approximately $95,000.00 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Our event has grown from a mere attempt at fundraising into an amazing annual event! With the backing of Ship Bottom Borough, Long Beach Island PBA Local 175, our incredibly generous and dedicated sponsors, along with our faithful participants, the Ship Bottom Sprint is now a day about hope and friendship; it’s about bringing people together to celebrate life and taking steps to help make a difference.

My father, Vito “Vic” Pennisi passed away Saturday night, March 14, 2009, after the Leukemia returned in November 2008. This event is my tribute to him, together in the honor and memory of the countless other brave individuals battling or who have lost their battle with these illnesses. As such, we will continue to hold the Sprint and raise money for research until there is a cure for blood related cancers.

So please join us for a memorable day. Whether you run or walk – come in 1st or 701st place – you’ll be sure to leave feeling like a winner!

Do not wait for extraordinary circumstances to do good; try to use ordinary situations. – Jean Paul Richter