CMAK Foundation Newsletter
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    February 2015            

from Rebecca
What is your Everest?

I have had the pleasure of breaking bread,hugging, holding, laughing and crying with a women who has had a glimpse of heaven and felt the LOVE of God at the highest point in the world. In 2011, less than 150 ft from her ultimate dream, a dream 39 years in the making, at 28,888 feet above sea level, she had a choice; achieve your dream but have that dream die with you. Never to share that achievement with your family and friends, never to inspire another person. Faced with that choice what would you do?
My amazing friend chose to turn around and live! She was not defeated by "Lady Everest" but  determined to embrace her on her own terms. When she stood at the bottom ready to return home, she gave a last look back and said,"Lady Everest, I will be back."  How powerful! I sit in my warm and cozy home and think "What is my Everest?" My Everest is me; my crazy roller coaster ride of emotions every day. I find it almost impossible to get out of my own way on these cold gray days. I think I can work out tomorrow, but then tomorrow gives me yet another excuse. I think of Donna on the side of Everest, I can't even call it a mountain because she deserves more respect than that. After hearing her story this second time and seeing the pictures, I finally can put it in my perspective.  I will never climb Mt Everest! Never wanted to and even after seeing these amazing photos, I can say that I still don't want to. What I want is that determination to get to the next level. I know it's in there.  I just have to get out of my own way and have the right people to help me. I have great people in my life that hug and encourage me in almost every step. Surrounded by LOVE, I know I will embrace my Everest.

In  2012, my friend went back to Lady Everest and, this time, did it! All 7 summits, the highest on each continent, climbed! A dream come true. Lady Everest, the final and highest one. For Donna, how do you go on when your greatest dream comes true? What do you have to look forward to? For me, how do I go on when my worst nightmare comes true? What do I have to look forward to? Well, honestly we are in the same boat. We share our story and hope we inspire someone to be the change they wish to see in the world. I am so honored to call Donna Decker my friend, to be able to listen to her fantastic stories. To know I can call her and find inspiration is amazing to say the least. 

Figure out your Everest!

Race4Chase Kid's Triathlon Program 
Celebrates Expansion in 2015:

Excitement and Anticipation surround the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program at the MOU Signing

The MOU signing for the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program for 2015 held at the Mattuck Museum in Waterbury Ct was a time for celebrating the success of the 2014 programs and the expansion of the program in 2015. All of the eight Connecticut sites were in attendance including the five new sites (Southington-Cheshire, Middletown, Torrington, Westbrook and Milford) joining the successful 2014 programs (Brookfield, Trumbull and Waterbury). Testimonials from each of the 2014 programs were provided by the YMCA representatives in attendance and CMAK unveiled its new video which presented a compelling story of the origins and mission of the Foundation. The ceremony included a presentation of "Official Race4Chase Program Sites" and sponsor plaques to be given to program locations and sponsors for proud display.
Jonathan Pleva accepting R4C Sponsor Plaque on Behallf of Boy Scouts of America

The ceremony also recognized CMAK's continued support of pre-school education with the grant of $20,000 to the Greater Waterbury YMCA preschool program to provide much needed support for tuition for over 120 families with students in the program. Amy Miele (below left), Director of GW YMCA Preschool Program, presented the Kowalski family thank you notes drawn by the preschool students.

The ceremony concluded with words of gratitude from Rebecca Kowalski on behalf of the Kowaski family and the presentation of the 2014 Race4Chase Kids Triathlon video composed by Susanne Navas, director of the Greater Waterbury YMCA Race4Chase program site.

Overall, the ceremony captured the excitement and enthusiasm that the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program provides to its participants, families and coaches.  The representatives from the new sites were all appreciative of the opportunity to join in the program and receive the added perspective that the ceremony provided including the impact of the CMAK Foundation video.

Representatives from the eight Ct Race4Chase 2015 Program sites and CMAK after signing MOU

We look forward to providing more details in the March and April newsletters as to how young athletes can apply to become participants in the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon program in 2015 at each of the sites.  

WFSB Channel 3 News coverage


CMAK at Rockin' Jump

Join CMAK at Rockin' Jump on Tuesday, February 10th, 2015 to get out of the snow and have some indoor fun and exercise!  Get yourself some CMAK socks and bounce your way to 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.


Sound Tigers-CMAK Foundation Family Fun Night at Webster Bank Arena

Thankyou for all the CMAK supporters who attended the CMAK Family Fun Night at the Webster Bank Arena.  The crowd was entertained by an exciting match between the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and the Portland Pirates in a high scoring affair. After falling behind in the first period, the Sound Tigers made a valiant come back, falling just short of tying the match in the last few minutes as the Pirates netted an empty net goal as time ran out for a 6-4 victory over the home team.  The stadium was filled with CMAK supporters as well as many Boy Scouts on super hero night which added to the fun.

The event was a success with CMAK having 117 supporters in attendance.


B2B Challenge-Update

The next scheduled event is currently the 5k Run for Sandy Hook on March 28th, 2015 at Fairfield Hills Campus in Newtown, CT.  Unfortunately, at this writing, the race is filled to capacity after opening registration on January 18th.  The race does have a need for volunteers on that day.  Please contact 
 if you are available that day to assist in the staging of the race.

The next event after the Sandy Hook 5k will be the Color Me Rad 5k in Hartford, CT on May 2nd.  We will participate in this event for the 2nd straight year.  Please join the Race4Chase team during the registration process as each registrant on the Race4Chase team will lead to a donation back to CMAK.

It's not too late! Find out more about the B2B Challenge, sign up and
come join with us on a journey of self-improvement inspired by Chase!


B2B Challenge Apparel:

Reminder: You can order your specially designed B2B running shoes through 
Ted's Shoe and Sport. Shipments are made monthly so order now!

There are also B2B Sweat Shirts available through our On
line Store.

Support CMAK through 

Thank you to all those who did their holiday shopping through AmazonSmile.  The program is a year round effort of Amazon to support charities of your choosing. You can support CMAK through all your purchases on  

Here is easy link for direct access:  AmazonSmile

Amazon and the Amazon logo and AmazonSmile and the AmazonSmile logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates.

Race4Chase News

Race4Chase Boston Marathon Team in Preparation:

Zoe Schwalje, Jonathan Pleva, Erin Flanagan, Amanda Jacob and John Williams are all well into their training schedules as part of the CMAK Race4Chase Boston Marathon team and they are all actively fundraising in support of CMAK.  Zoe and Jonathan are well on their way to meeting the $5k minimum required to receive a charity bib in the program.  Let us all support the effort of the team to meet their goal before they meet the challnge of the race on April 20th, 2015.  Please refer to the Race4Chase Boston Marathon Team to make a donation to any of the runners fundraising pages and to follow along on the progress of the fundraising.  Zoe's two bake sales were a huge success, raising $1,900.00 for her campaign.  Those must be some chocolate chip cookies!

Jonathan Pleva pictured above with Stephen and Rebecca Kowalski at the Race4Chase Triathlon Program MOU Signing Ceremony displays his official acceptance into the Boston Marathon as part of the Race4Chase team through the John Hancock Non Profit Program.  Jonathan is organizing a paint night to support his campaign for the Boston Marathon. See the following link for more details:

Paint Night Details


Race4Chase Boston Marathon Team

 Best Wishes for safe and healthy training leading up to the big race!
Race4Chase at the Disney Marathon

The Disney Marathon in Orlando, Florida in early January, was the first time that we have had three Race4Chase batons being passed in the same race. Dyan Coker, Ivo Louvado and Erin Flanagan all proudly carried Race4Chase batons in Chase's memory.

Disney was Dyan's first Marathon after completing the San Diego Half Marathon last June.  Dyan passed the baton to Scott Sartwell from York, SC who competed in the Doopey Challenge at Disney that day and intends to run the Asheville Half Marathon on March 15th in memory of Chase.  We look forward to hearing his report next month.

 Erin Flanagan set a personal best time in the Marathon at 2:24:05 while completing her 7th State in her quest to complete all 50 States.  She is pictured here on the ESPN  megatron board at the finish line.

Erin passed Baton #12 to an accomplished endurance runner/triathlete from Pennsylvania, Mary Kreis, who when not training for her next competition is coaching youth to enjoy running as much as she does.


Ivo Louvado (left), who received the #10 baton from Erin at the Baltimore Marathon in October, passed the baton on to his fellow ATF officer from Tampa Florida, David L. Brown II, (right) who also completed the race.

David intends to keep the baton in his family. He will commemorate his son's (David III) graduation from the DC Police Academy in April by running a race together and passing the baton on. 

Brian Mora, husband, father and triathlete extraordinaire, is back with his next challenge in honor of Chase...view his video to find out what he has planned to take his game to the next level.

Brian Mora's Quest

We ask all Race4Chase athletes to give advanced warning of competitions they are entering so that CMAK can try to alert any other Race4chasers competing at the same venue.  Also forward pictures of competitions to so they can be included in newsletters and website galleries.  Any stories surrounding these activities would be greatly appreciated.  


Race4Chase Baton Update

Baton #1-

Crystal Reitz completed the Rt 66 Half Marathon in early November and has paassed the baton to Melissa Kepner who is intending to run the GO GIRL Half Marathon in Oklahoma City on Sunday, March 27th.

Baton #4

See Disney Marathon above

Baton # 6-

Christy Jones (right)
has passed on Baton #4 to Donna Decker McCollum (below center) who will be competing at the All American Marathon at Fort Bragg in NC where she will run the Half Marathon distance.  

(left to right) Susanne Navas, Donna Decker and Rebecca at Chase Collegiate School

Baton #10 and #12-

See Disney Marathon Above

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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