As if running or volunteering in support of special needs programming at the Westfield Y wasn't innately rewarding, co-organizers of Greta's Run have just sweetened the pot.
A few of 'Greta's Favorite Things' will be given away as door prizes to those participating in the inaugural 5K honoring Greta Schoenemann, who was only one week into her freshman year when a tree limb fell on her and nine friends as they ate lunch outside Westfield High School on September 11, 2002. Schoenemann sustained grave injuries and died four days later. The run will be held on Sunday, Sept. 15, the 11th anniversary of Schoenamann's passing, in downtown Westfield.
All runners and volunteers who register for the 5K by Thursday, Sept. 12 will be entered for a chance to win a BMW Bicycle valued at $1,000 (donated by JMK BMW/FIAT), New Jersey Devils Luxury Box tickets (donated by Gregory Moore), and a 32” Flat Screen TV (donated by Top Line Appliance Center) accompanied by a bundle of Greta’s favorite movies and snacks (donated by Greta’s family and friends).
Ben Nanna, who has co-organized 'Greta's Run' with Jayne Ruotolo, said he is grateful for the outpouring of support for the event, which he believes embodies the spirit of generosity and caring that was ever-present in his childhood friend.
"Jayne and I chose for it to benefit Special Needs programming because Greta’s sister Elise has Cerebral Palsy," Nanna said. "Greta grew up volunteering at Camp Chatterbox and Children’s Specialized Hospital, where her sister and my cousin Christian Panarese were enrolled in activities and therapies together.
"No donation or volunteer effort is lost in the bucket. It all comes together; every person and every dollar is important and appreciated."
Those interested in participating can create fundraising pages, donate or sponsor Greta’s Run. Information for how to do this is located on the website. For more information or to sign up, visit http://www.westfieldynj.org/community/gretasrun