Team JAF’s Unprecedented 2020 Marathon Journey Comes to an End

Originally set for April 20, 2020. Postponed to September 14. Eventually turned completely virtual.

The 124th running of the Boston Marathon became an unprecedented event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with registered athletes running their own virtual 26.2 mile race between September 5-14, 2020. And, much like the patients they were running and fundraising on behalf of, our team found a way to persevere through the difficult challenges thrown their way.

The Joe Andruzzi Foundation’s (JAF) 29 dedicated “Team JAF” athletes hailed from Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maine, Florida, Texas, Washington DC, Virginia, and as far as Venezuela. And though they were not able to formally run the coveted Boston Marathon course or experience the lined streets with fans cheering through seven towns, our athletes did spend more than 11 months training and fundraising hundreds of thousands of dollars in support of New England cancer patients and their families.

JAF is honored and humbled to announce that, through their own hard work and the support of their friends, families, co-workers, and many others, this year’s 2020 Boston Marathon Team raised $240,000+ which will allow JAF to provide financial assistance to more than 350 patients and their family members!

We are also so thrilled to share that 15 of our 29 athletes participated in the virtual race and completed 26.2 miles on their own routes across the country. These athletes rallied their support crews and made the best out of this unique year creating replica finish lines, enlisting their running clubs, and depending upon the strength and encouragement of their patient inspirations.

Team JAF runners ran for very personal reasons, but the one thing that unified them was the desire to make a difference in the lives of families faced with cancer. They chose the Joe Andruzzi Foundation because they understood the impact that a JAF grant can have for a family struggling to pay household bills, while also trying to cover the unexpected costs of cancer treatment.

It goes without saying, but on behalf of the entire Foundation, we want to send a special thank you to our amazing team: Mark Allen, Naudy Anzola, Melissa Bernier, David Birsner, Charlie Blatchford, Michael Cadigan, Sean Cantwell, Victoria Clappi, Jessica Colangelo, Kevin Cryan, Marisa Fenn, Michelle Hanson, Timothy Hartshorn, Darcey Lapointe, Laurel Martens, Danielle Mathias, Leslie Maudlin, Meghan McAneny, Brian Myette, Melissa Oliver, Alexandra Pepe, Catherine Pierson, Muzaffar Qazilbash, David Santoro, Donté Stallworth, Kate Sutphin, Danielle Tavares, Katherine Tully, and Leland Wilson.

And the thank you list doesn’t just stop there. The entire Joe Andruzzi Foundation wants to send our appreciation and gratitude to:

  • The John Hancock Non-Profit Program, for accepting Team JAF as part of their incredible program for the ninth straight year.
  • Mayor Walsh, Commissioner Gross, Tom Turco, The Garofalo Family, The Frontino Family, and The Freidman Family, for allowing us to take our 2020 team to new heights.
  • Susan Hurley of CharityTeams and her staff, who once again led an incredibly successful Boston Marathon campaign for Team JAF. As our team captain, Susan always puts Team JAF runners in a position to succeed through training and fundraising – and she continues to be a model ambassador for the Joe Andruzzi Foundation’s mission.
  • New Balance, which once again generously designed and donated Team JAF’s 2020 Boston Marathon singlets and gear.
  • The Boston Athletic Association for its tireless effort to put on an incredible virtual Boston Marathon.
  • JAF’s Patient Inspiration – a group of Foundation grant recipients who pledged their unwavering support for Team JAF runners throughout the 2020 Marathon season.
  • Stacey Howard Photography for braving the elements all marathon-season long to capture images of our runners working towards their marathon goals.
  • Marathon Sports, CORE Hydration, HFactor Hydrogen Water, Star MarketPepsi Co., Honey Dew Donuts, and all of our amazing volunteers for fueling our runners throughout their training runs at the famous Team JAF water stop!

In mid-September, the team was able to gather on a ZOOM video call to recap the marathon season and bring some closure to months of training and fundraising. Awards were also handed out during the celebration, including acknowledgement of Team JAF’s top fundraiser (Meghan McAneny), the annual Team JAF Spirit Award, which is given annually to the runner who best represents an (Up)Beat attitude and dedication to JAF’s mission throughout Marathon season (Charlie Blatchford); the Unsung Hero Award, presented to the Team JAF runner who best displays passion, perseverance and determination throughout Marathon season (Victoria Clappi); and the JAF Ambassador Award, presented to Team JAF runner who shows the most dedication towards increasing awareness for the Foundation (Jessie Colangelo).

What is most amazing is just how many individuals played a role in making this year’s campaign such a success! Of course, the runners, but also the families, friends, and donors who have supported each of their campaigns over the last few months. You truly help JAF continue to expand our reach across the region – thank you so much for your generosity.

If you would still like to contribute to Team JAF’s 2020 Boston Marathon campaign, donations will be accepted through October 2, 2020, here: https://bit.ly/3477UPi

And, of course, we owe one last thank you to everyone who made JAF’s 2020 Boston Marathon journey such an overwhelming success. To the runners: please know how important you are to our foundation. We couldn’t be happier to have you in our corner.

Thank you.