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    A Great Big Welcome to 2014!

I can't say the new year started out happy for me. I have been in a kind of funk since our return from Hawaii. We spent some amazing time in Maui trying to prepare ourselves for the one year mark of losing Chase. I was derailed and it has taken almost a month but I'm back and ready to dive in! The beginning days of this year may not have been my  best start but, seeing what all of our supporters have done this past year has inspired me to pick up the pace, put a smile on my face and get ready to start another fantastic year.

There are so many events planned for CMAK, we can't be anything but excited to get this year rolling! I look forward to meeting all the new members of our R4C team and also can't wait to reconnect with our dedicated supporters. We have accomplished so much in just one short year and I am so proud that we are on this journey together.  Still humbled to know that is is Chase that has been the driving inspiration for all. 

Measure your life in Love, swim bike run and always...remember Chase!    ~  Rebecca

Race4Chase Kid’s Triathlon Program Adds Two Additional Sites 

CMAK is pleased to announce that the foundation has agreed with the Regional YMCA of Western CT (Danbury) and the Central CT Coastal YMCA (Trumbull) to join the Greater Waterbury YMCA in operating the Race4Chase Kid’s Triathlon Program in their area.  A signing ceremony took place at GW YMCA on January 23rd to celebrate the agreement. Along with the dedication of a plaques recognizing CMAK's scholarships for pre-school students at the GW YMCA program.  Now, the Race4Chase Kid’s Tri Program will be servicing all the communities surrounding the Sandy Hook area and training a total of 90-100 children from 6- 12 years to complete their first triathlon.  The culminating triathlon will be staged at GW Waterbury’s Camp Mataucha on August 2nd with all three programs participating. It will be an enjoyable event to watch so please save the date if you are in the area.

    Rebecca & Steve Kowalski handing out Race4Chase Race4Chase 
     bracelets to pre-school students at GW YMCA.


Triathlon Quilt Presented to Jim O'Rourke by the Kowalski family for commemorate the signing.
Left to right: Yvonne Grimes, Kevin Grimes, Pat Lodra, Rebecca Kowalski, Gail Null- VP of Operations,
Regional YMCA of Western CT, Charlie Clifford, District Exec Director Lakewood Trumbull YMCA,
Jim O'Rourke, CEO GW YMCA

Support for Equipment Needed

CMAK is currently reaching out to manufacturers to solicit support in order to secure the equipment necessary to operate the Race4Chase Kid’s Tri Programs.  We would appreciate any and all contacts that our supporters could provide which might help in the Foundation securing these items as a donation or at cost.  We will need the equipment in place by June 1st , (Earlier if branding is needed.)

The list of equipment required per each site is as follows:
15 Youth Bikes (assorted sizes, hybrid) would need to work closely with manufacturer for best suited bike for 6/12 years
30-35 Bike helmets (with proper certification)  (Branded for Race4Chase)
10 Stop Watches
10 Clip Boards
25 Cones
Each Site, Each Year
30-35 Swim Caps (Branded for Race4Chase)
30-35 Googles
10 Staff t-shirts  (Branded for Race4Chase)
30-35 Youth t-shirts  (Branded for Race4Chase)



First Annual Race4Chase Kid’s Triathalon

CMAK has secured Wolfe Park in Monroe CT to stage a family friendly Race4Chase Kid’s Triathlon on July 13th,  2014.  This will be an event (swim, bike, run) for children 6-12 years of age.  Course length will vary on the age group.  Further details will be available in early Spring including how to register, but mark your calendars.  It should be an enjoyable time for all. More information to follow on registration for this event.

R4C News - R4C Baton Finds a New Home

On December 14thRachel Delaney completed the “Santa Suits on the Loose” 5k in St. Augustine Beach, Florida to complete her pledge when accepting the Race4Chase baton from Alexis Garrity in October. Rachel is pictured crossing the finish line with the R4C baton!  The race culminated 26 days of training runs dedicated to each of those taken from us at Sandy Hook Elementary.  Congratulations to her for this accomplishment!!  Now
Rachel has passed the baton to her brother-in-law Shawn Delaney, 17 year Air Force veteran, who has advised that he will dedicate his participation in the Mountain in the Middle 17k trail run on January 18th in Columbia, SC in Chase’s honor. We are looking forward to his report from race day and finding where the baton will lead us next!

CMAK celebrates partnership with YMCA at Fischang-Cicchetti Memorial 5 Miler and 5k

Awesome...Just Awesome

From left to right: Cathi Kroha, Rebecca Kowalski and Marybeth Bresnahan McGuire

Our Race4Chase team gathered at the Fishchang-Cicchetti Memorial road race staged by the Waterbury YMCA.  Although it may have been tempting for the team to stay at our table in the warm gym of the YMCA sipping our hot chocolate and contemplating warmer climates (Hawaii?), we knew that Chase would have none of that behavior.  So true to form and duly inspired, the team braved the 19’F temperatures and 40 mph winds to not only complete, but to impress.  Age group awards were earned by Brittany Kowalski, Tory Kroha, Erin Kowalski, Rob Kowalski, Veronica Kroha and John Pleva.

Despite the accolades earned by the above group, I believe all would agree that the Chase Inspiration Award goes out to our 7th award winner, Brian Pogue of St Charles, Missouri, who drove to Connecticut in order to participate with the team “on his way” to Atlanta where he ran a Half Marathon on Thanksgiving. He also took the opportunity to visit Chase’s playground in Normandy Beach, NJ on the way! If that’s not dedication and inspiration enough for you then you should have been there to hear Brian recount his story of being inspired by Chase to turn from couch potato to triathlete, training vigorously for months, losing 35 lbs and completing the Lexington, Kentucky Full Ironman (all 140.6 miles) in August.  WOW!

Left to right: Brian Pogue, Brittany Kowalski, Robert Kowalski,
Erin Kowalski and John Pleva
(not shown Tori Kroha, Veronica Kroha)

A big thanks to Katie Blake who organized the gathering for the team!

Tony Smith recounts Camp Oest participation at the Baltimore Marathon Relay

Left to right: Zach Azzarello, Tim Smith, Sam Wallace, Tony Smith

Thoughts From Tony Smith -

“The Camp Oest team had a great time running the Baltimore Marathon relay Saturday, October 12, 2013. All four of us have run in some fashion or another but this was the first real competitive run for all of us outside of occasional 5K fundraisers. We were talking before the race about how motivating it really was to do this and how powerful it was to feel like we had Chase there with us while we ran. A couple of us had people compliment us on our shirts. At least for me, I'm pretty sure everybody turned to read my shirt and it made me really proud to be running for Chase. Having participated in the Baltimore Running Festival was one of the greatest feelings I've felt in a long time. My mom is a marathon runner and I always wanted to get into it but I never fully had the drive to until I was doing it for Chase. I don't think the experience would have been as incredible as it was if it weren't for Chase and for your support. Sam and I are already planning to run the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach in March, and we'll proudly do it as part of CMAK.
One of our runners, Zach, will not be participating in any more races with us since he will be going to boot camp next month and then beginning his tour of duty with the Marines. I know that Chase will continue to inspire him in his service overseas, and it will continue to inspire all of us when we return to Camp Oest next summer to make a difference in more kid’s lives to try to make the world a better place.”
We would like to thank Zach for serving on behalf of our country in the United States Marine Corps. We also wish him our full support as he serves his tour of duty. Perhaps Zach will need to join the Marines4Chase team participating in the MillionMiles4Chase campaign! (Hint-Hint)  

March 29th - 5k Run for the Sandy Hook Families

Race4Chase will again organize a team for this event which was staged in Hartford last March.  This year it will be run in Fairfield Hills in Newtown and participants will be limited in number (max 1000).  Registration is open now for Sandy Hook families and then starting January 19th to Newtown residents.  Registration is open giving preference to Sandy Hook families and Newtown residences.  Other registrants will be chosen on a lottery basis.

The race committee is working to organize virtual runs in surrounding communities including Monroe which may be an opportunity for some of our supporters if they do not gain direct entry.

You can register at  for the race itself. There is no Race4Chase team sign up during the registration process.  We would ask you to alert us to your participation on the Race4Chase team that day by signing up
We will have a full 2014 calendar of events prepared for our next newsletter.

Marathon in Every State for Chase!

CMAK’s Race4Chase team has been joined by Erin Flanagan who is on a quest to run a marathon in every State and is dedicating this adventure to honor Chase.  She has completed marathons in Connecticut and Rhode Island, so only 48 to go!!!  Marathon No. 3 is scheduled for the Austin Marathon in Austin, Texas on February 16th and then she plans to tackle the KeyBank Vermont City Marathon in Burlington, Vermont in June.  It would be great to see other Race4Chasers participate with her or be there to cheer her on as she tours the country over the next years.  Keep an eye on Erin’s fundraising page on FirstGiving for the latest update.

CMAK in the News

In the weeks prior to the year anniversary of the events at Sandy Hook Elementary, the Kowalski family participated in some select media coverage to support the CMAK mission and explain the great things that the Foundation is pursuing in Chase’s honor. Below are some links to this coverage for your viewing.!/on-air/as-seen-on/Family-of-Boy-Killed-at-Sandy-Hook-Defines-His-Legacy/235655521

Race 4 Chase & Million Miles 4 Chase Campaigns 2013

Our two cornerstone grassroots campaigns met with success thanks to the 49 fundraisers that were established on our website.  Our fundraisers pages attracted donations from over 850 individuals and matching corporate gifts.  CMAK raised a total of $73,935.00 on FirstGiving in 2013. 

Highlights from the campaigns are summarized as follows:

                Total Funds Raised:                         $73,935.00
                Race4Chase campaign:                   $44,929.00
                MM4Chase campaign:                      $26,256.00

                Other initiatives:                                  $2,750.00
Fundraisers:       49 
Donors:              850
Teams:                20
Top Individual Fundraisers on FirstGiving:
                Brian Mora:                                        $29,748.15
                Kevin Bresnahan                              $11,745.00
                Michael Compare                              $ 4,030.00
                Greg Kaczmarczyk                             $ 3,300.00
                Amanda Jacob                                    $ 3,101.80
                Ronnie Lienhardt                               $ 2,501.00
                Patrick Grimes                                    $ 2,000.00
                Rachel Stienebrey                             $ 1,710.00
                Jeremy Ross                                        $1,390.00
                Stephen Vassallo                              $  1,328.00
                Cathy Kost                                           $1,271.20
                Troy Pelfrey                                        $ 1,245.00
                Christina Hansen                              $  1,205.00
               Top Team Fundraiser:
               Marines4Chase                                 $ 5,241.00

                Million Miles 4 Chase:
                Total Miles Pledged:                                16,504
                Total Miles Completed:                       12,119.38

Individuals in 1000 miles + Club:          
Kevin Brenahan, Brian Pogue, Brian Mora, Stephen Vassallo, Kevin Grimes

How do we adequately say thank you?  For starters, from the bottom of our hearts.....
we thank each and every one of you for your amazing support.  Wow, just wow!

Upcoming Events

March 29th- 5k Run for the Sandy Hook Families

Sprint for Monroe and Race4Chase Kid's Fun Run ,June 1st, 2014

Race4Chase Kid’s Triathlon on July 13th


Copyright © 2014 CMAK Sandy Hook Memorial Foundation, All rights reserved.
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