CMAK Foundation Newsletter

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November 2016       

from Rebecca

So I start this inspiration for the third time  because I am not computer savvy. I was writing a piece first about anger, then about dealing with more grief and it has morphed into vulnerability. Funny I always look to Chase for my inspiration, when I write it on my own I write about him. when I write about him you see the love, when I write about me you see the grief. Today I write about vulnerability because that is something I have to work on. It is no doubt we lost one of the three most precious gifts God gave to us. If that doesn't make you vulnerable then what does. 

It has been a very long time since I have let vulnerability play such a big part in my life. I had learned a hard lesson on vulnerability when I was a teenager, and I vowed to never get hurt in that way again. I have to say I managed to do a good job not getting upset to that degree, well, until 12/14. Losing Chase, our only son was and will always be the worst devastation we could imagine. What I wasn't prepared for was the long hard journey it would take and is still ongoing managing our new normal.

New Normal, what a term, almost a sick joke, were we ever normal, what is normal. What I can tell you is we were a happy family, content and fulfilled. We had good times and we had hard times, we laughed a lot, and we cried more than our fair share, but we always had our little family intact. Now almost 4 years later we shared what would be our last Thanksgiving as our little intact family. That hurts so bad, if only we had known,if only we could have one more moment it could change the course of our lives. That is vulnerability and it sucks. 

Through the past 4 years I have done a bunch of therapies but in this past year I have grown to be a different kind of person. To say I haven't changed because of 12/14 would be a lie, but to say I completely changed would be a lie too. I am the same person, I carry the same beliefs, values,and morals. I have learned so much in the past 6 months about who I am now, how I choose to live my life and how I want my life to play out. Ultimately our life is a myriad of possibilities and choices, it is how you "choose", that shapes your life. How well you interact with people, how clearly we communicate with one another. It is about taking a situation, or an emotion, or issue and working through the part that you can't relate to, or agree with, or find compromise in. It is being open and vulnerable with whatever it is that is blocking you from being the best you. I think we all want to be the best ME, we can BE. Instead of covering your vulnerability, look deep inside and figure out why, what, or who made you feel so sad, broken, or alone, and forgive yourself and accept yourself, then LOVE yourself so you will be free to be the best you, you can be. When you are in a place of true acceptance of yourself you can let others in and feel safe that who you let it will have your back unconditionally. It is through the work of Tapping and Cranial Sacrial Therapy that has brought me to this cross road in my journey. 

I invite you to try tapping as my therapist is offering an event in Newtown, CT on December 7th from 7-8:30pm  "an evening of healing and transformation" at Edmond Town Hall. Tapping together, teaching basics history how to use it in your life. 

An Evening of Healing and Transformation

An Evening of Healing and Transformation

The Tapping Solution Foundation Presents: An Evening of Healing and Transformation With NY Times Bestselli...

To make your GIVING TUESDAY donation for CMAK easier, we created a CMAK Giving Tuesday campaign on FirstGiving online site.  Please access the page here:  CMAK GIVING TUESDAY

Calling ALL Supporters: Put Us Over the TOP for November!  VOTE CMAK Today!

The Harte Auto Group, longtime supporters of CMAK, has selected the CMAK Foundation to participate in the DRIVE WITH HARTE charity campaign where the Harte Auto Group will donate $5,000 to a chosen 501c3 charity each month based upon the number of votes received in their contest.  The easy way to record your votes is to access the Harte Auto Group facebook pages below, find the Drive with Harte contest posting and put CMAK in the comment box of the post.  You can vote once per site, six votes in total!!  Votes must be made prior to Midnight on November 30th. We finished in 3rd place in October but let's make winning this November's contest a priority!!  Share this with all your facebook friends and have them vote as well!

2016 Race4Chase Program in Review

Thank you from CMAK to our 15 sites, coaches, junior coaches, athletes, administrators, guest speakers, sponsors, partners, volunteers and families for making the 2016 Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program such a great success! 

To give everyone a sense of the impact of this program on its participants and their families, here are a few numbers showing the expansion and benefit from the programs:

                                                           2016                                   2015
Sites                                                      15                                     8
States                                                      2                                     1

Total Participants                                458                                    257
FINALE Participants                            424                                    238

Male Athletes                                       268                                   
Female Athletes                                   190

Bikes for Kids Bikes*                           120                                    N/A
Bikes Taken Home by athletes             49                                    N/A

Athletes that Learned to Swim            107                                    40
Athletes that Learned to Bike              103                                    27

* Bikes provided to the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program by the Bikes for Kids Foundation

Let's make the 2017 Race4Chase program even bigger and better.  Please support us through GIVING TUESDAY, Drive for Harte Charity Contest and Giving Assistant or Amazon Smile for your holiday shopping!

2017 Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program-
Accepting Applications from Sites

The Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program is evaluating applications from prospective sites and will select the 2017 programs by mid December. We are very excited about the interest being expressed for sites within and outside of CT.  The CMAK Foundation is hoping to continue to provide grants to the current 15 programs from 2016 and expand further including additional sites outside of CT..  A signing ceremony will be planned for late January to officially welcome the 2017 sites.

Track Friday
at Trumbull High School

Congratulations to Heidi L Langan for a successful, hope-filled, love-inspired, being-the-change event. Your megawatt smile and enormous heart make this world a better place, as always!!!!

Recap from Heidi

"Track Friday 2016 has been a tremendous success! We loved seeing folks hitting tracks, trails, parks, and neighborhood streets in the spirit of giving. Keep spreading the word as we continue to raise money for great causes through GivingTuesday on November 29th! "

"My heart is so full from the love and support for Track Friday today. I want to Thank you ALL so much!! It was such a great turnout and the funds raised are insane! Thank you to Mother Nature and all the Angels shining down on us for such an amazing day."

"Team Track Friday is almost at $40,000 and we alone have raised about $5000 of that! Thank you to those who donated outside of Razoo. One of the charities that you have blessed is the Chase Michael Anthony Kowalski Foundation ~ Race4Chase, and many more!!!!"

"104 families donated (that i know about)
over 80 families came to the (Trumbull) track today to participate."

"Thank you to ALL my friends who helped me get this started and spread the word! Could NOT have done it without you. Thank you to those people who truly understand the meaning of this movement. Thank you to Eric Rubinson who started this whole epic-ness! "

"I feel blessed to be a part of Track Friday. Your generosity will make life changing differences."

Thank You ~ Heidi.

Race4Chase in Rwanda

Bill Lavin, from Where Angels Play Foundation, brings Chase's spirit of paying it forward to Rwanda

Pictured with author of "Left to Tell", Immaculee Ilibagiza, and Jean Pierre at the G.S. Mere Du Verbe School in Kibeho, Rwanda

from Rebecca

Bill Lavin from the Where Angels Play Foundation in Rwanda, Africa, is finding the perfect place for a playground for a deserving community. Bill visited the school in Rwanda today where a playground is going to be built. This is a bus driver from the school wearing Chase's shirt. Bill advised "...conditions were heartbreaking & they need a lot more than a playground."

I asked the Foundation how we can help.
"I'm sure Bill will fill us all in when he gets back as to what we can do. Chase's spirit of "paying it forward" reaches across the world. Cool kid you got there."

I am a true believer in paying it forward and I know we have so many deserving communities here in the USA. But it is fulfilling seeing how far our reach can be! Please remember this holiday season when you are in your cozy home, others are not; while you are with your family, others have lost one or all family members. Please remember when you are opening your gifts, others have none. Life is about the journey about living, loving, caring and sharing. Take a moment to give thanks for all you have but remember to get out there and give what you have. It's not always about money, it's about giving from your heart, your time, your love, your energy and your light. 
SAVE the DATES !!!

Race4Chase Kids Community Triathlon
Sunday, July 9th, 2017
Great Hollow Lake
Monroe, CT

Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program FINALE
Saturday, August 5th, 2017
YMCA Camp Sloper
Southington, CT


More Saving, More Giving with Giving Week! Giving Assistant, a featured partner of Cmak Sandy Hook Memorial Foundation Inc., is hosting a seasonal shopping event, Giving Week, from Thanksgiving (11/24) through Giving Tuesday (11/29). While you earn the highest cash back rates of the year, Giving Assistant will be doubling every donation you make. Make holiday shopping feel good again! Shop here: 

 Not signed up to give to us? You can sign up here:


You can support CMAK through all your purchases on  

Here is easy link for direct access:  AmazonSmile

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Race4Chase News


LAST CALL:  Race4Chase Boston Marathon Team 2017

Selection of Race4Chase Boston Marathon charity bib recipients November 30th  !!

CMAK has be awarded two charity bibs for the 2017 Boston Marathon under the John Hancock Non-Profit Program.  We will officially close the application process and chose the recipients on November 30th.  As a prerequisite for the program for being awarded a bib, the individual applying must guarantee that they will raise a minimum of $5,000 for CMAK and post these monies on the Race4Chase Boston 2017 online fundraising page on Crowdrise. Please access the application HERE and send the completed application via email to, but do not delay!

We also encourage any qualified marathoners to join the team and support the cause.  There is not a deadline for qualified marathoners who want to join the Race4Chase team.  There is no minimum fundraising requirement to be part of the team if you have secured entry on your own.  Last year, the team consisted of seven runners and we hope to exceed this number for 2017.  To join or donate to the team, click here: 2017 Race4Chase Boston Marathon Team


Fischang-Cicchetti and Race4Chase: 4 Years and Running

John, Kevin, Brian (l-r)

The 42nd annual Fischang-Cicchetti 5k- 5 mile brought the Race4Chase team together for the fourth consecutive year as we joined our friends from the Greater Waterbury YMCA as they staged this annual event this past Sunday morning. We were greeted by a blustery 33°f temperature with a wind chill making it feel only 1° warmer than the 23'f of two years ago. The Race4Chase team turnout was much smaller this year than the past, but it was still able to secure three top placements. In the 5k, Brian Pogue placed 1st in the men's 50 to 59 and John Kennelley, a friend of the Kowalski family and Masuk high alumni, placed 3rd in the same Age Group. In the 5 mile Run, our very own Kevin Grimes placed 2nd in his age group. We would like to thank Jim Pallock for his continued support of the Foundation and helping look after the merchandise table while keeping warm with Steve and Rebecca in the gym.


The Great Turkey Escape 5K: Friends Forever

from Rebecca

The power of friendship lives strong in the heart of Quinn McGuire and his family. For the past four years, the McGuire family participated in the Great Turkey Escape 5k in Ridgefield, CT to honor Quinn's friendship with Chase. Quinn's friends and family sponsor him with donations for his mileage in the run. Each year, he makes a donation to the Foundation. This year was extra special; not only was I able to join the McGuire's at the race but I was also there to witness Quinn being acknowledged for it. On a beautiful Thanksgiving morning, Quinn was the first inductee in the Great Turkey Escape Hall of Fame for his dedication to memorialising his friendship with Chase at this run. TGTE has dedicated Number 8 to Chase for the past four years because of Quinn's story. I was so touched by the race director's support of Quinn, and heartfelt words to me on Thursday, it felt like Chase was with us. I hope that you all had as amazing of a Thanksgiving morning as I had this year. If you haven't had the chance to do a 5k on Thanksgiving morning, believe it or not, this one is so worth getting up early for.


Baton #17 -

Erin Flanagan, John Wedding and Amanda Jacob-Erickson all competed in the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon on November 5th, 2016.  Erin completed her 17th State on her quest to complete all 50 States in Chase's memory in a time of 3:32:12   This was only three weeks after setting her personal best mark at the Minnesota Twin Cities Marathon in 3:19:42.  Amanda completed her first marathon since her marriage to Ryan in August.  It appears marriage has done nothing to detract from her marathoning as she completed the race in 3:24:35.

The performance of the day goes to our newest baton holder (#17).  John Wedding from Louisville KY, fresh off receiving the baton from Erin in Indianapolis, crushed his personal best mark at the marathon distance by over 3 minutes in completing in a time of 3:06:35.  If I am not mistaken, that is the fastest marathon completed by a Race4Chase supporter and baton holder, surpassing Amanda Jacob's Boston Marathon effort (3:14:17) in 2015.  After that kind of race, John may never pass along his "good luck" baton.  John is joining the 2017 Race4Chase Boston Marathon Team where he intends to pass the baton to a deserving candidate.  I am sure the runners will be lining up for the baton if Chase can guarantee them a PR.

John Wedding at Monumental Marathon

Baton # 18-

Erin Flanagan continues to hold the #18 baton from the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon (her 16th marathon State completed) so she can pass the baton along to David Brown Jr, former holder of the # 10 Race4Chase Baton and retiring police officer, who will take the #18 Baton and hike the Appalachian Trail starting in March 2017.  We will keep track of his progress as he makes his way up the East Coast.  We wish him well on his journey to Maine!

Dave Brown Jr (r) and Ivo Louvado (l) at the Disney Marathon exchanging Baton #10

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


Upcoming Events



Bass Pro Shop

1 Bass Pro Drive
Bridgeport, CT 06608
12/7 - 5pm-close        
12/15 - 5pm-close
12/17 - 10am-3pm      
12/21 - 5pm-close

Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program
M.O.U. Signing Ceremony

Thursday, January 26th, 2017, 9:30am
Mattatuck Museum
Waterbury CT

Race4Chase Boston Marathon
Midnight Bike Ride
Sunday, April 16th, 2017

Race4Chase Boston Marathon Team
Boston, MA
Monday, April 17th, 2017

Crazy 8

May 21st, 2017
New Venue: Colonial Tavern
24 Hawley Road

Oxford, CT

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