CMAK Foundation Newsletter
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    May 2015            

from Rebecca

This is dedicated my mom, my inspiration to walking through life gracefully.
Happy Mother's Day to all of our beautiful mothers, wishing you peace today and always!

Never in a million years. If you asked my mom when I was a little girl, she would have told you I was going to live with her forever, never grow up.  As I got older, I was never going to get married or have kids, never in a million years.  As a teenager, I lost my best friend at 16, never in a million years did I ever think that would happen. I made some pretty stupid choices back then and thought if I make it past 21,  I would be lucky. I have been doing the tango with death for a long time and never fearing my own mortality. After I made it to 21, I still do this dance with death.

  Never in a million years, hhhmmm, life changes all the time and, as I have gotten older, I find things I thouht wouldn't have happened in a million years indeed happen.  I did get married, and I did have a beautiful family,but now that beautiful family looks different. With another angel in heaven to watch over this tango I do with death, I have come to learn that its okay. Life continues. Don't get me wrong. It isn't always fair. if my mother told me once, she would tell me all the time that life isn't fair. My mother and I just had this conversation. We were awaiting the news of her getting released from rehab. She is having a difficult time wanting to fight for the remainder of her life. She didn't know if she wanted to come home. She, like many parents, don't want to be a burden, a burden to the now called "sandwich generation." That's me sandwiched in between taking care of her and taking care of my children. For the first time ever, my mother told me my life isn't fair. Funny how never in a million years would I think my mother would have said that to me. My reply, was "Really Mom, when has my life been fair?" If you know me or have read some of my past inspirations, you will know that I have had more than my share of loss in this lifetime, I think somehow it is my destiny to travel this road. So every day I wake up and stretch, thank God for a new day and tackle it as best as I can. Life waits for no one and never in a million years does come around sooner than we ever thought it would.  So while you find your Everest, and you find your Gail King, know that never in a million years might be just around the corner. 


Kowalski Family Receives YMCA Volunteer Award

At the Lakewood-Trumbull YMCA Annual Awards dinner, Stephen and Rebecca Kowalski received the Adult Volunteer of the Year Award presented to the volunteer who had most positively impacted their programs in 2014.  The Lakewood-Trumbull YMCA was one of the three sites to adopt the CMAK Foundation's Race4Chase Kid's Triathlon Program in 2014.  This six week training program where youths 6-12 years old are coached in swimming, biking and running provided the opportunity for thirty athletes to complete a USA Triathlon-sanctioned triathlon in August 2014.  Lakewood-Trumbull YMCA will again host the program in 2015 along with seven other sites in Connecticut and two sites in South Carolina.

The CMAK Foundations thanks the Trumbull-Lakewood YMCA for this recognition and their support in hosting the Race4Chase Kids Tri Program.

Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Race-
Sunday , July 12th - Great Hollow Lake, Wolfe Park

Registration Open Mothers Day!!!!

The 2nd Annual Race4Chase Kids' Triathlon Race will take place at Great Hollow Lake, Wolfe Park in Monroe CT on Sunday, July 12th, 2015.  There is expected to be significant interest in participating in the event after the success of the 2014 race.  Please sign up early to assure an entry position in the race.  The field will be limited and filled on a first come, first serve basis.  For further information and registration, see the following link: Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Race

Please note that there are opportunities for entry fee waivers for families that need this assistance so that every child that would like to participate can have the opportunity. Please inquire through the contact information posted on Run Sign Up


2nd Annual Crazy 8 Ride4Chase takes to the open road May 3rd

It is with humble hearts that we send our thanks and gratitude for all those who helped make the second annual Crazy 8’s Ride4Chase a success. We would like to thank our gracious host and owner of Molto Bene Italian American Kitchen for his hospitality and the delicious food both before and after the ride. We would also like to thank Dunkin Donuts for the coffee and donuts for our riders and volunteers. Thank you to the Ansonia Little League for the use of their parking lot. We’d also like to thank Social Convention for providing their talent as well as Peter Bockairo for his D.J. services. Special thanks to Father Victor Martin for his beautiful and touching prayer.

Our event could also not have been the success it was without the generous donations from the following people and businesses:

Our stop sponsors; Ron Eastwood, Monroe Auto Transport, Kret Home
Improvement, and CLM Landscaping
. We would also like to say a big thank you to Kenny Z's Salon for sponsoring our Tshirts for the second year in a row!

Thanks to the businesses who “opened their doors” for our stops;
M&D Roxbury Garage, Hawleyville Deli, Dunkin Donuts, and Schreiber’s Farm and our mileage sponsors that lined the route:  White Hills Tree Removal, Bliss Yoga, Hammond Law Firm, Derby Glass, Valley Super Pawn, Thayers, Skeleton Crew Motorcycle Club, Hamden Yards,  Simione, Macca & Larrow, Cross Hill Citco, DeAngelo’s Salon, Plock Family.  Event/Sound system sponsors:   Masons Farm, Country Colors Painting, Premier Jewelry Design, Legal Shield, The Primorac Family and Mullet.

Our raffle prizes were generously donated by the following businesses, organizations, and people: Bridgeport Bluefish, Two Roads Brewery, Shebeen Brewery, Dew Drop Inn, Auction, Bead of Roses, New England ATVMotorcross, Connecticut Distributors, Ron Wetmore,Sam and
Patti Portolese, Harley Davidson of Danbury, Kathy Konner, GlenRo, and Art Maybeck Septic.

Thank you to Spartacus Chooch, the therapy dog, and his dad Brad for making a visit and greeting riders along the route. We are also grateful for help with our design, printing, and signage from Bob Terry of Grow360, Joe Plecia of Success Printing for your fliers, and Drew Designs for the wonderful Tshirts.

Lastly, a HUGE thank you to the many volunteers who helped out before, during, and after the event. We truly could not have made this event the success it was without your time and efforts! Together we created and hosted an event that will continue to bring support and understanding for the foundation and it’s goals.

Again, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Race4Chase Kid's Triathlon Program Update

The application process to determine the participants in the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon programs for 2015 in Connecticut has been completed at all eight host sites. Due to the success of the program last year, we generally have an over subscribed condition.  The Program sites are now evaluating candidates for final selection.

The Connecticut programs will begin June 22nd and continue for six weeks, culminating at the "FINALE" USA Triathlon sanctioned kids triathlon, on Saturday, August 1st, 2015 at YMCA Camp Sloper in Southington, CT.

The South Carolina programs will begin their application process later this Spring, targeting a FINALE event in late summer.

CMAK Rockin' Jump Event Leaps Higher with support from Sandy Hook Cycles and New Balance

Round 2- June 2nd, 2015

Sandy Hook Cycles to Raffle off new Bicycle
New Balance to participate by performing shoe sizings and collect lightly used sneakers. Please bring lightly used sneakers to the event to donate.

Rockin'Jump Trampoline Park will host a 2nd CMAK session at their facility in Trumbull CT on June 2nd, 2015.  CMAK supporters, especially the kids, can again enjoy an evening of bouncing fun with their friends.  Wear your CMAK socks and have a great time for all the family.

Rockin' Jump Trampoline Park (203-880-5577) in Trumbull CT.  A portion of the entry fee will be donated back to the CMAK Foundation by the owners of Rockin' Jump.  We appreciate their support.

Bluefish expand their support for CMAK

In addition to the CMAK Foundation night at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport scheduled for July 18th, 2015, the Bluefish have included CMAK on their list of charities which can receive a donation from the Bluefish through the purchase of Bluefish tickets for any of their games during the 2015 season.  When you find a good night to take in a Bluefish game, please refer to the following link where you can purchase tickets and designate CMAK for the donation.  BLUEFISH CHARITY TICKETS 

Pictured above: Bluefish General Manager Jamie Toole was recently presented a CMAK sponsor plaque by Rebecca Kowalski, President and Michele Orzechowski, Treasurer in appreciation of their support of the CMAK Foundation. (from left to right, B.B. the Bluefish, Rebecca Kowalski, Michele Orzechowski, Jamie Toole)

Support CMAK through 

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Race4Chase News

Race4Chase Boston Marathon Team "Boston Strong":


What an impressive display of strength and determination under difficult conditions by each of our seven marathoners. Steady headwinds of 20 mph with gusts up to 40 mph plus steady rain with the occasional down pour were not enough to shake the resolve of our team.




Amanda Jacob road a fast early pace to set a personal best by over 4 minutes in 3:14:17 and she was followed closely behind by Erin Flanagan in 3:21:03 who surpassed her previous best time by over 3 minutes set at the Disney Marathon in January! And she found some time after the race to pass along the Race4Chase baton....More details to follow.





Brian Daniels looked strong through the final mile as he crossed in 3:23:54. Another of our TIMEX friends and supporters, Sam Martin, was next for the Race4Chase team in 4:30:16.



John Williams completed his third Boston with Chase by his side with an emotional and inspirational last mile leading to a 4:30:20 finish.



Jonathan Pleva and Zoe Schwalje ran together until the last two miles and facing the worst of the weather which deteriorated throughout the afternoon. Jon passed the CMAK family cheering section at 25.7 miles with fist pumps and arms raised knowing what he was about to accomplish for Chase. He crossed in 5:15:01. Zoe followed shortly behind drawing renewed energy from the cheers from family and friends behind the Race4Chase banner to finish her first marathon in 5:18:27. An amazing performance by all. Imagine if the weather had cooperated!



A big shout out to our firemen friends at Engine 33, making the CMAK cheering section dry, comfortable and in the eye of the transiting crowds. And a special thank you to John Hancock and their Boston Marathon Non Profit Program which lead to the Race4Chase Boston Marathon team raise over $22k for CMAK Foundations programs like the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program.

Each Race4Chase athlete expressed that Chase (our 8th marathoner) was running with them today and on their minds at the toughest points to see them through to the finish. Wear your medals with pride just as Chase did.




Congratulations to this group of strong and wonderful athletes brought to us by Chase! They are an inspiration to all of us!

Color Me Rad: The Rainbow Edition of the B2B Challenge

The Race4Chase team came together at the Color Me Rad race in Hartford for the 2nd year to enjoy a morning of running, color, music, dancing and fun!  The weather cooperated with bright sunshine and temperatures reaching 80'f by the time the team returned to the post run party.

Next Birthday to Birthday Challenge Event:

Sprint for Monroe 
Sunday, May 31st, 2015
Wolfe Park, Monroe CT

The next B2B Challenge Event will be the Sprint for Monroe which also includes the Race4Chase Kids Fun Run directly preceding the 5k race.  This is the third year in which the Race4Chase team has been invited to participate in this traditional community event where Chase ran his first 5k.  The Race4Chase Kids Fun Run is one of the highlights of the day as scores of children race around the course on the park grounds being encouraged by family and friends.

CMAK at Challenge Quassy Half Ironman

Reminder: CMAK Needs 16 Volunteers to Man Aid Station

The Race4Chase team will participate in the Challenge Quassy Triathlon (Formerly Rev-3 Triathlon) again this year.  There are a number of Race4Chase triathletes who will be competing in the Half Ironman distance while CMAK as an official charity at the event will be organizing its supporters to man a water station along the course.  Please advise if you want to join the Race4Chase team in the Half Ironman or alternatively volunteer to man the water station and cheer on our athletes at

Race4Chase Goes International

St Croix 70.3 became the first international 70.3 Triathlon that a Race4Chase team member has attempted.  John Williams recovered from the Boston Marathon to take on the heat in St Croix in this grueling event.  Perhaps we will see him again at Quassy this year.


Baton Update:

Baton # 4- (Green)

It is now becoming well known that if you want to set a personal best in an upcoming race, you need to get yourself a hold of one of the Race4Chase batons.  After Denise Hartmann shattered her best time in the Half Marathon by over 12 minutes in the Virginia Beach Shamrock Half last month,  Erin Byrge surpassed her best marathon time at the Let's Move Festival of Races in Mt Clemens, MI in a time of 4:42.

Erin passed the baton to her son, Tyler Whipple (14, pictured above), who continued the string of PR's by setting his best time in the 5k (21:26) while taking 2nd place overall in the IAE Hustle for Haven House in Troy, MI.  Tyler then passed the baton to his sister, Melissa Whipple (12), who will compete in a Kids Triathlon in Ann Arbor MI on May 17th.  We will await to hear about her PR at the next update!

The baton should stay in the family until Erin's participation in the Ironman Lake Placid in July. Currently, Erin will be joining David Pru'homme and Cathy Kost running for Chase at Lake Placid.  Let us know if there will be any other Race4Chase Triathletes competing at this event.

Baton #5 - (Blue)

Donna Decker continues to hold the Race4Chase baton as she departs to Nepal as part of a high altitude rescue team sent by the US Department of State to help after the tragic earthquake which struck the area around Everest.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Donna for her safety and success in this mission.

Baton #10 (Gold) - 

On Sunday, April 19, 2015, David L. Brown, Jr and his son David L. Brown, III ran in the 13th Annual Blue Jay 5k Race for Lymphoma Research at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.  During the race, David, Jr ran with the Baton in memory of Chase and at the conclusion of the race, handed the Baton off to his son, David III who is a recent graduate of the Washington, D.C. Police Department.  Ivo Louvado, Baltimore City PD and previous baton steward, was present and participated in the race.  We await notice from David III on his intentions for the baton in the near future.

David II, David III and Ivo at baton transfer.

Baton # 11 - (Green)

Michelle Catucci successfully completed the Pittsburgh Half Marathon in 2:44:15, a personal best by 5 minutes!  CMAK also recognizes her efforts in fundraising on FirstGiving.  Michelle has raised $1,280 for the Foundation while training for this race.

Michelle also shares her experience of passing the baton: " This was such a special race for me and I am humbled that I could honor Chase by being a part of all of this.  I passed on the baton to a fellow educator, Shannon, a second grade teacher from Jamestown, NY.  I met her and her husband, another educator and runner, in the elevator of my hotel the night before the race.  I have to admit, passing on the baton was making me more nervous than the actual race beforehand, but meeting Shannon felt like it was meant to be!  She was so excited to accept the baton and it meant a lot to her as a teacher to be asked to be a part of something like Race4Chase.  She was already brainstorming what her next race would be (a triathlon in Ohio or the Chicago Half Marathon) and who she could pass the baton to!  I truly believe that Chase's spirit brought us together the night before the race and that he helped me finish my race strong and with a smile on my face!"

Certainly a great experience to share with all of our Race4Chase team.  We will catch up with Shannon by our next newsletter to see where she decides to race.

Michelle and Shannon after the Half Marathon

Baton #13- (Gold)

ERINBOSTONBatonErin Flanagan ran the Boston Marathon with the #13 baton and passed it to a fellow marathoner who she had met before and after the race.  Terry Gang proudly accepted the Race4Chase baton challenge after completing the Boston Marathon in 2:23:27 and shared with us his background which is repeated as follows:

"My support group - wife of 16yrs Leigh, Son Tyler 14, Daughter Olivia 11

Me – I’m 46 and was not a long distance runner until I started running in 2008 at 39 yrs. of age.  Started with a 5K in early 2009 “Frostbite 5K” in February in Ohio and ran my 1st Half in 2009 in Akron, Ohio.  Since then, I have run 13 other half’s and ran my first Marathon in 2012.  On my 2nd Marathon run – The 1st annual Pro-Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, I posted a Boston Qualifying time (3:21:57) and hence, Boston was added to my bucket list.  I enjoy running as it is a great stress reliever and I love to be outdoors.  Along the way I have also done some Warrior Dashes with friends and colleagues as the combination of running and obstacles is fun as well. "
Terry plans to race at the Cleveland Marathon this month and perhaps the Akron Marathon in September.  We will await news on how he races and to whom he passes the baton.

Baton # 14-

Erin Flanagan, fresh off her record setting performance at the Boston Marathon, completed the Coastal Delaware Running Festival Dewey Beach Marathon, marking the 9th State completed in her quest to finish a marathon in each State.  The baton carried in this race is yet to be transferred to another athlete. 

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

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