Annual Lap4Life fundraiser celebrates health and family
Two young, and very brave warriors were honored at this year’s Lap4Life event during the opening ceremony: Sean and M.J. Cadden.
Sean, 11, and M.J., 13, are the son and daughter of Sergeant Pat Cadden of the Town of Newburgh Police Department. Sean had been in remission from his Leukemia after 3-½ years of treatment. Sadly, in August of 2014, the Leukemia returned and Sean was in need of a bone marrow transplant. His sister M.J. was his match.
The day after his 11th birthday, he received the gift of life — his bone marrow transplant from M.J. Behind this brave brother, there stood a courageous sister. These siblings truly defined this year’s race theme of “Brotherly Love.”
The Lap4Life event is hard to classify. It started in 2009 as a run/walk around a picturesque lake in Newburgh, but it has grown into a community day where people come to visit the Health Fair, to enjoy the food and music; and to run or walk around Chadwick Lake or to participate in the Kid’s Fun Run.
While at this year’s event on June 20, it’s hard to miss the importance of a community coming together to support a cause, to celebrate the victories, and to share the stories that make our lives worthwhile. The event has grown each year with nearly 2,000 people participating in some way this year.
I founded Lap4Life for my brother, Dr. Angelo Casabianca, who was battling a rare tumor — a desmoid tumor — from the age of 30. Angelo proudly walked in the first Lap4Life event in June 2009. He lost his battle 6 months later at the age of 39.
Lap4Life is held each year on the third Saturday of June, to honor the memory of Dr. Angelo Casabianca by raising awareness and much-needed funds for desmoid tumor research and organ donation.
Four years ago, along with Life4Life committee member Goncalo Pinhiero, I began the Lap4Life Youth Track Program as an extension to the Lap4Life event. The goal was to help our youth build a love for running and a love for exercise in general.
The program runs from April through the end of May, and focuses on teaching the mechanics of running, introducing cardiovascular exercises, stretching, and endurance when running longer distances in a fun-family centered atmosphere. Last year, over 30 children ranging in age from 5 to 10 registered for the program. Family members are encouraged to join the workout.
The coaches feel children will exercise more if they can do it as a family. Running is the basis for most sports and it is an exercise you can do anywhere. It is important to instill a healthy lifestyle at a young age and that is what this program strives to do. Our goal is to have children and families who participate in the program join us at our Lap4Life event next June. All funds raised are directly donated to the Lap4Life foundation.
Maddalena Casabianca-Reade is a New York State Licensed Speech-Language Pathologist. She has been working in the field of Speech Pathology since 1997. She specializes in geriatric homecare, however has been treating individuals of all ages with communication and swallowing disorders. She is a native of the Hudson Valley and graduated from Marlboro High School, she obtained her undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degree at the State University of New York at Albany and went on to receive her Master’s of Science in Education in Communication Disorders at The College of St. Rose where she graduated Magna cum Laude. In 2009, she started a non-profit foundation called Lap4Life, which raises money each year through a community event featuring a Run/Walk and Health Fair to raise awareness and funds for desmoid tumor research and organ donation.