Off and Running for a Cure

Off and Running for a Cure

Cancer touched these students' lives - now they're raising funds to help fight the disease

By Stephen Gawlik
Staff Writer

A trio of Boston College students whose lives have been touched by cancer are organizing a benefit 5-kilometer road race that will start at Conte Forum on Sunday, March 24, at 11 a.m.

(L-R) Juniors Erin Barry, Michael Genovesi and Kyle Novellano are the organizers for the March 24 "Run for a Cure" road race, which will benefit the American Cancer Society. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)
Proceeds from the "Run for a Cure" race will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

The race will begin on the Beacon Street side of Conte Forum, head west towards Upper Campus, and wind through neighborhoods adjacent to BC. Runners will continue east along Commonwealth Avenue and across Lower Campus by way of St. Thomas More Drive to Beacon Street, then return to Conte Forum for the finish.

Juniors Erin Barry, Kyle Novellano and Michael Genovesi are organizing the event, which they hope will draw runners and sponsors from Boston College and surrounding communities.

The cause is a personal one for each of the students, but for different reasons.

Novellano, a Long Island native, lost his younger brother, Adam, to a form of bone cancer called osteosarcoma last spring after a three-year battle.
"He was optimistic about getting better the whole time he was sick," recalled Novellano. "He never got down about it - that's how he lived his life."

Adam's memory now serves as an inspiration for Novellano to help others in their fight with cancer.

"The race will be run in his memory," said Novellano. "Even though he's no longer here, he will be a big part of the day."

For Barry, a Lowell native, a bout with cancer during her freshman year provided an impetus to join forces with her friends to organize the race.

During her first semester at Boston College, Barry discovered a lump on her neck and initially thought it was nothing more than an old high school basketball injury. At a friend's urging she consulted a doctor who told her it was Hodgkin's Disease, a form of lymphoma.

"It was shocking at first," said Barry. "But after a while I realized I couldn't sit back, I had to beat it."

While taking a reduced course load, Barry endured months of chemotherapy and radiation at Boston's Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Her cancer eventually went into remission and her life returned to normal, but today she still needs to go for periodic check-ups.

She said even the slightest amount of funding can aid many different types of cancer research.

"A breakthrough could occur at any time," said Barry. "If more people knew this then it could possibly open the door to more funding - and a cure," she said.

"You never know if the smallest effort can help someone in the biggest way."

While Genovesi has neither endured cancer himself nor seen a close family member battle the disease, his friendship with Barry and Novellano provided more than enough motivation. Genovesi said a friend attending college in western Massachusetts organized a similar run and its success also helped spark the idea to hold one at Boston College.

"Along with raising money for research, it is important to raise awareness of the need for more research," said Genovesi, of West Hartford, Conn. "The event is open to anyone who wants to run, sponsor a runner, or make a donation."

The race has already garnered financial and logistical support from the Lynch School of Education, Student Affairs, Bureau of Conferences and the Boston College Police Department. Newton Police have offered to assist with traffic control and will provide officers free of charge, according to the student organizers.

Runners can enter a raffle to win gift certificates donated from local companies. Prizes will be given to the first male and female to finish the run and to the individual raising the most money.

The trio launched a campus-wide fundraising drive earlier this week and are staffing a table located near the Boston College Bookstore to help support the registration effort.

For information on sponsoring or participating:

Return to March 14 menu

Return to Chronicle home page