Important News from CMAK Foundation
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    April  2014            
Meeting Donna Decker was probably one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me. Her story was amazing and inspiring, not inspiring as in: " I'd like to climb the seven tallest mountains of the world including summiting Everest," but, because of her story, I felt that it inspired me to stay strong on this journey we are all taking together. Donna Decker at the age of 10 or 11 was told that only men climb MT. Everest,and, at that this early age, a passion was sparked in her to make that and many other grueling climbs. Donna had an amazing career as a young athletic woman, that in itself should make her proud. For her, I guess that wasn't enough. She wanted more. She was determined to complete a childhood dream.

 I love the fact that Donna was the 8th women to climb all 7 summits. As a 10 year old, she wanted to be the first to do it, but, for me, it was more meaningful that she was the 8th because in my heart it was just another sign from Chase that this women was going to be someone I would be able to form a life long bond with. Always keep in mind that No. 8 was Chase's baseball number and it comforts me to have that sign show up time and time again with regards to things close to my heart, as he was.  She recently made an appearance at Bethel High School, the same local high school where Chase ran his first running races.  As I listened to her speak with the young adults on the track team there, I thought of all the things she was saying about the drive, determination and dedication that it takes to be an amazing athlete. Chase had all of that in him. I believe he would have accomplished anything he set out to do. In 7  years, he made his life full with the help of friends and family, and now he reaches out to all of us to help us be better people and inspires us to reach for the stars. My heart breaks for the families of the Sherpas who lost their lives on Mt. Everest last week. I don't know any of them but, through the words of Donna telling us her amazing stories of a trip 39 years in the making, they were special people. The trip to the top of Mt. Everest never would have happened for her if it wasn't for the courageous men risking life and limb to fulfill the dreams of these climbers. I hope her friends were spared.  In the words of Donna, being on the top of Everest is about as close to heaven as you can get.


Dick’s Sporting Goods Selects Race4Chase Kids Tri program for Matching Grant

CMAK and the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program have been selected by Dick’s Sporting Goods to participate in their Sports Matter program.  You may have seen this program mentioned in Dick’s Sporting Goods television promotions.  The Sports Matter initiative, which runs from April 17
th to May 31st, supports youth teams that are seeking funds to maintain or establish programs in all sports.  The Race4Chase Kid’s Triathlon program was one of approximately 200 qualifying applications nationally.  Dick’s Sporting Goods will provide a matching grant of $13,150.00 to the CMAK  Foundation to be used to support the establishment of a fourth site for the Race4Chase Kid’s Triathlon program.  The location of this fourth site is yet to be determined but will be established latest before the summer of 2015.  We thank Dick’s Sporting Goods for this opportunity to participate in this fundraising campaign which will contribute to our expansion of the Race4Chase Kid’s triathlon program and assist us in fulfilling our mission. 

If you would like to contribute to this campaign, you can access our fundraising page at CMAK Sports Matter

A special thanks to Gene Gurkoff at Charity for encouraging CMAK to pursue this opportunity.


Race4Chase featured in Spring 2014 USA Triathlon Magazine (Article page 38)

You can view the article at the following link, USA Triathlon Magazine Spring 2014
or the following PDF file  USATriarticle.

We thank USA Triathlon for their fine work and support in putting this together.




Race4Chase Kid’s Triathlon July 13th

The 1st Annual Race4Chase Kid’s Triathlon will take place at Great Hollow Lake at Wolfe Park in Monroe CT.  This swim/bike/ run competition will be open for youth ages 6 through 12 with races beginning at 9am.  Distances for each leg of the race will be determined by age group and according to USA Triathlon standards. Registration opens on Monday, May 12th at  There will be a maximum number of 220 participants.  Please refer to website as the date approaches for more information and also to sign up for volunteer opportunities for staging the race.


Race4Chase Kid's Triathlon Program receives Support from CT State Troopers Union

from Rebecca

A very personal thank you goes out to the CT State Troopers Union for their continued support to the Kowalski family, CMAK  Foundation and the Sandy Ground Project, Where Angles Play Foundation. It has been a pleasure to work with Andy Mathews and know the compassion he and all of the state police have for the families of Sandy Hook. I had the pleasure of meeting Andy at the State Police convention with Mary Kate Lavin where he rallied the Troopers from across the country and was able to raise $8,888.00 for the Sandy Ground Project. Seeing all of the 8's, it was easy to see that Chase was with us that day.  We also played #8 black at the roulette table and won $380.00. It was an uplifting day for me feeling Chase's spirit with us. Through that meeting, Andy asked Kevin Grimes, Jim O'rourke and myself to come to a meeting at the union hall where we explained our triathlon program and our need of bikes for the program. It was fantastic to get a call from Andy to let us know that the CT State Police Union believe in what we are doing and gave us a donation of $2500.00 towards the purchase of some bikes for the program. 

Crazy 8's Motorcycle Ride4Chase 



It’s hard to believe that the “big day” is less than two weeks away.  We have raised just over $1,300 in cash donations and approximately another $2000 in goods and services to be raffled off at the event.   Our online invite list jumped rapidly from just under 500 to 1,300 in just over a week!  We STRONGLY encourage pre-registration online for those who will be riding at following link .  For those who don’t ride motorcycles, our doors are open to you as well.  There will be food and entertainment starting at 12:00.   We have added D.J. Scott Schroeder of Studio 57 to our entertainment line up.  He will be there from 9:00 a.m. and continue to play for us until the last guest goes home!  We also have a few “guests of honor” attending our ride, including Kevin Ward and his Sandy Hook Tribute Durango.  Our event t-shirts are ready and can be pre-ordered online at Crazy8’s Ride4Chase on Facebook.   Follow the link to our email address and leave your name and shirt size.  There will be limited quantities the day of the event, but we will be taking orders for them as well.  The cost for the shirt is $20.   You can find a list of all of the raffle prizes on our Facebook page by the end of the week.  There is also a link for anyone who would like to make a general donation to the foundation.  

We look forward to seeing you all there!

Crazy 8 Ride4Chase Team

Race4Chase News

5K Run for Sandy Hook Families 

Despite the ominous forecasts, the weather cleared revealing a brief moment of sunshine before the start of the 2nd Annual 5k Run for Sandy Hook Families.  It was an appropriate start for the enthusiastic crowd including the strong Race4Chase team in attendance.  It was good to see so many returning supporters donning their Race4Chase T-Shirts as well as those able to join us for the first time. It was good to see  Ilaria and Carter Brey join the team for the first time given all the support they have offered to the Kowalskis over the past year. Len Gutman again made the trip up from NYC as well.  Sharon Pirhala, the organizer of the Chase Kowalski Memorial Golf Tournament, was down from New Hampshire for the event, while Erin Flanagan took a break from her marathon training to join this “sprint.”  High praise goes to Race4Chasers Riley Rising and Meghan Grimes who both won their age group competition.  Chase would be proud to not only have enthusiastic supporters but talented as well.  Please refer to the Photo Gallery on the website to view Race4Chase photos from the day. 

A big thanks to Katie Blake and Kristin Mabrouk for staging the race and looking after the needs of the Race4Chase team.


ALERT: Color Me Rad – Race4Chase
Packet pick up


This weekend is the Color Me Rad 5k in Hartford Ct.  We have over 60 participants on the Race4Chase team running in the event.  We have been warned that it is much preferred to pick up your race packets before race day to avoid large lines and delays.  CMAK is offering to pick up the packets for you and distribute them on race day morning so you do not need to make the additional trip to Hartford.  In order for CMAK to do this, we need an email confirmation sent to after you sign the electronic waiver at their website.  For anyone 18 or younger, this confirmation must be accompanied by an attached signed waiver by participant and parent.  On race morning, we will have the packets available at the green “CHASE” tent set up on the race grounds.

It’s still not too late to register and join us!!!
Reminder: Sign up to Race or Volunteer at the Rev-3 Quassy Olympic Triathlon

Race4Chase is now the official volunteer sponsor of the Rev-3 Olympic Triathlon Finish Line.  Please join us on May 31st to help stage this International Caliber Triathlon while earning donations to CMAK from the race organizers.  There are volunteering opportunities for May 30th (packet pick up), May 31st (Olympic distance race) and June 1st (70.3 distance race) which will all count for the donation if you note your Race4Chase team affiliation when signing up.  To access the online volunteer sign up page, select the following link and fill out the timeframe that you want to work. (
While volunteering at the race you can cheer on the Race4Chase team competing in the Triathlon.  The team currently consists of four athletes including Brian Pogue coming all the way from Missouri for the event.  There is still time to join the team competing as well.  Please sign up for the May 31st race and advise us of your participating at   There is interest from a few runners who are seeking swimmers and bikers to form Race4Chase relay teams.  Please express your interest at the same email address.

Race4Chase Baton Update

Baton #1- (Bethel High School Track) 
The last news was that the baton remains with Shawn Delaney and we await his report on 

Baton #2- (Trumbull Lakewood YMCA) 
We are sad to report that this baton has not surfaced after initially being placed at the YMCA facility at Lakewood Camp in Monroe by Kevin Bresnahan during his 1000 mile culminating run. If anyone has any information concerning its whereabouts, please advise CMAK. 

Baton #3- (Remains with Kowalski family on fireplace mantel) 

Baton #4
We are awaiting news from Lee Whitaker as to whom he has passed the baton at  the Copper River Bridge Run, Charleston, SC, April 5th. 

A big thanks to for donating all the Race4Chase batons for this program and also for use in our Race4Chase Kid’s Triathlon program this summer. 

John Williams and the Boston Marathon

Congratulations to John Williams, pictured above with his finishing medal from the 2014 Boston Marathon!
See the story of Race4Chaser John Williams, "Local Man to Finish Marathon This Time Around," aired by NBC30 news last week in preparation for the Boston Marathon.  We thank John for his fundraising support and commend his perseverance after the trials of 2013..  NBC30 News story.

Special Note:   Congratulations to Generation UCAN spokesperson, Meb Keflezighi, for winning the Boston Marathon at age 38.

Reminder: Join Erin Flanagan
and the Race4Chase team at the All American Marathon! 

Erin Flanagan, a student at the University of New Haven from Madison, CT, is one of those athletes that Chase has stuck a special cord. Erin is on a quest to run a marathon in every State and is dedicating all of these races in honor of Chase. Thus far, she has completed marathons in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Texas. The All-American Marathon will be her next event and with a special twist. Erin will bring with her a Race4Chase baton which she will give to an inspired athlete she meets at the All-American Marathon requesting the recipient to take up the baton and compete in a challenging athletic event honoring Chase and the other students and educators taken from us at Sandy Hook Elementary. The recipient will be asked to pass the baton along to another inspired athlete in order to keep Chase spirit alive.  If you would like to be the recipient of the baton, you can email with your reasons that you are inspired to take up the baton. These messages will be shared with Erin and the Kowalski family for their consideration. 

Race4Chasers will be competing in all three events (marathon/half marathon/5k) and hopes for a big turnout. As an added bonus, those participating will be able to meet Donna Decker (see “Inspired” above) and Meb Keflezighi, Boston Marathon winner,  through our sponsors, Generation UCAN.

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