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Distance Run Raises $145,000

October 6, 2011
More than 1,500 runners and walkers competed in the third annual Steeplechase Distance Run in Hillsborough on Oct. 2, raising $145,000 for The Steeplechase Cancer Center at Somerset Medical Center. 

Brian Crowley of Hillsborough won the 25K race in just under 90 minutes. Elizabeth Drews of Warren was the top female finisher at 1 hour, 45 minutes.

Noel Vega of Somerville emerged from a pack of 600 runners and walkers to win the 5K race in 17 minutes. Christine Witt of Rocky Hill was the race’s top female finisher with a time of 20 minutes, 47 seconds. 

For the first time, the event also included Kid Sprints, 25 to 100 yard runs designed for children ages 2 to 11. The races began and ended at Amsterdam Elementary School in Hillsborough.
“It was a wonderful day,” said Somerset Medical Center surgeon Cynthia Lee, MD, an avid runner who has spearheaded the event since its inception three years ago. “It was great to see so many cancer survivors, physicians and groups of friends and family who came together to walk or run as a tribute to a loved one.” 

Among the run’s participants were “Progin’s Players.” This local organization was created in honor of Ian Progin, a guidance counselor and head boys’ basketball coach at Hillsborough High School who was diagnosed with Stage IV Glioblastoma (brain cancer) in early May. Hundreds of Hillsborough students, basketball players and other well-wishers ran or walked in honor of Progin. 

A group of 17 “Tater Trots” participated in the 5K race in honor of breast cancer survivor Nancy “Tate” Brunner of Frenchtown, bearing pink wristbands and “Tater Trots” bumper stickers on their T-shirts. 

“We all had a lot of fun,” said Sharon Raab, a nurse in Somerset Medical Center’s Infection Prevention Department, who organized the group. “We wanted to participate to show our support for Nancy as she courageously continues her battle against breast cancer and also help support the programs and services at The Steeplechase Cancer Center.”

The Steeplechase Distance Run was sponsored by Physicians for the Cure, including Advance Hospital Care, Associated Colon and Rectal Surgeons, P.A., Associated Radiologists, P.A., Drs. Laura Bond and Joel Braver, Betty S. Catanese, M.D., Central Jersey Colon and Rectal Surgeons, P.A., Drs. Anthony Catanese and Neel Shah, Digestive Healthcare, P.A., Dr. Kristine Krol, Hillsborough Podiatry Group, Neurosurgical Associates of Central Jersey, P.A., Raritan Valley Surgical Associates, P.A., Somerset Hematology & Oncology Associates, Somerset Pathology Associates, L.L.C., Surgical Associates of Central New Jersey, The Center for Orthopedic Care and The Plastic Surgery Center.

All proceeds from the event benefit educational programs for patients and the community at The Steeplechase Cancer Center at Somerset Medical Center. The Steeplechase Cancer Center enables Central New Jersey cancer patients to see their doctors, undergo outpatient treatment and participate in promising cancer research studies – all in one place close to home. The three-story, 63,000-square-foot facility, which opened in 2007, houses radiation therapy services, infusion therapy, breast imaging services, the medical center’s research team, oncologists’ and surgeons’ offices, nutritional counseling, patient navigator services, a patient resource library, the Sanofi-aventis U.S. Wellness Boutique and complementary medicine services, such as yoga, t’ai chi, meditation and massage. The Sanofi-aventis U.S. Breast Care Program is one of only a select few in New Jersey to achieve full accreditation by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers and has also been named a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology.

For more information about The Steeplechase Cancer Center, visit