Ellen’s Run: On Your Marks, Get Set, Go!

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Ellen’s Run, an East End annual 5k race, will take place on Sunday at 9 AM. This run is the signature fundraiser for the Ellen Hermanson Foundation, and brings much needed awareness of breast cancer to Long Island. Founded in the memory of Ellen Hermanson, a local who battled cancer for nearly 10 years and became an activist and voice for breast cancer victims, Ellen’s Run lets her legacy and fight live on.

According to its website, the Ellen Hermanson Foundation was established in 1997 to honor the memory of Ellen Hermanson and carry on the important work to which she devoted so much of her time and energy. An activist and an advocate, Ellen channeled her journalistic talents to become a forceful voice for breast cancer patients and their families. She educated people about the importance of early detection, the challenges of living with breast cancer, the very real but little-discussed issue of pain management, and the debilitating effects of breast cancer on the entire family. The East End of Long Island has some of the highest diagnosis and mortality rates for breast cancer in the country.

Because of the overwhelming support from Ellen’s Run and other fundraising efforts, the foundation has been able to provide the Ellen Hermanson Breast Cancer Center at Southampton Hospital. The center provides state-of-theart technology, such as digital mammography equipment, to women and men on the East End. The center allows doctors to detect breast cancer earlier, and help them combat it more forcefully. “The foundation is dedicated to providing life-saving services to men and women of Long Island regardless of their ability to pay,” stated Julie Ratner, Ellen’s sister and founding member of the Foundation.

Any procedure done in the Ellen Hermanson Breast Cancer Center is done free of charge. “We wanted women and men of Long Island to have the same access to state-of-the-art cancer research as that of a large hospital in the city. It has always been important to us to keep the money we raise on Long Island in the Long Island community,” Ratner said. Ellen’s Run also supports Ellen’s Well, a program that provides psychosocial support for breast cancer survivors under the leadership of specially trained certified social workers. “It is important to help cancer victims through every phase, and the support from the run allows us to put that into action with Ellen’s Well,” Ratner explained. Ellen’s Run is a family event for runners, joggers, and walkers. Breast cancer survivors are recognized for their strength and courage, and the first breast cancer survivor to cross the finish line receives a special award.

There will be over 1000 participants this year. The Foundation has awarded more than $4 million in grants. “I loved my sister dearly, but she was no runner!” Ratner recalled. This event is just as important for walkers and supporters, who see the need to benefit the organization. “My sister was my biggest cheerleader, even when she was sick she would stand on the corner of her building in Manhattan to watch me run the marathon.” If you cannot run or walk, come to support those who are, and make a difference in your local community. The run is open to the public, and you can preregister for $35, or register the day of the run for $45. The race will begin at 9 AM sharp at the Southampton Hospital, Parish Memorial Hall. The Independent is a proud sponsor of Ellen’s Run, and wishes all participants the best of luck.

Julie Ratner