Running on Love

Categories: Events

Carly Martino is your typical 13 year old. She enjoys spending time with her friends, doing crafts, and travelling with her family. She also has cancer.

Carly has been battling a rare form of brain tumor at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center for three and a half years, dealing with chemotherapy and proton radiation. Throughout her treatment and recovery, Carly’s medical team has done their part to keep her life as normal as possible. She has been able to stay in school and continue doing all of the things she loves.

“From the first time I walked into Connecticut Children’s to my most recent visit,” Carly says, “I have known I will be well taken care of. Everyone who works at the hospital has a special gift for making kids feel calm and comfortable during their appointments. I still remember my first interaction in the Emergency Room with the Child Life Specialist like it was yesterday. Even at the age of 10, I could appreciate how everything was explained to me in a way that I could understand. And I love that my doctors and nurses are part of the community I live in. I often see them outside of the hospital. I will always be my parent’s daughter, but my doctors remind me I am one of their kids now, too.”

That kind of care (and caring) is why Carly is participating in this year’s Jamie’s Run, a 5K road race and Kids K around the historic Old Wethersfield Green. The Run was founded in 2010 by Kurt and Kelly Knotts after the passing of their infant daughter, Jamie, who had an extremely rare liver cancer. It has since become a major autumn milestone, with 50 volunteers and planning that goes on year-round.

Last year, for example, more than 1,000 people of all ages and sizes stood at the starting line, each wearing a number over their sweatshirts as well as gloves and hats, their breath condensing in the crisp air. There were vendor tables and tents, a marching band, runners in costumes, and the roadsides crowded with spectators cheering them on. And every runner has family, friends and supporters who have donated money in their name, all to help the best possible cause. Over the past eight years, the event has raised $380,000 for cancer clinical trials and family support at Connecticut Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.

“We organized the inaugural event the same year we lost Jamie,” says Jamie’s father, Kurt. “We felt such a strong connection to Connecticut Children’s, we wanted to stay connected and help others like us. Seeing Jamie’s spirit and legacy affecting so many, still today, nine years later, has helped us heal and carry on.”

“The people there are just so nice,” Carly says. “There’s the race itself, but then there are all of the other little activities that were fun, too.” Carly’s mother, Sara, says the family has always been involved in running. “As a family we’ll pick a couple of 5K’s to do together each year,” she says. “Back when we were running for the sake of running, it was all about just beating our own best time or whatever was closest. Now, when we look at something like Jamie’s Run we say, ‘Of course we’re going to do that, because it’s more important to us now.’”

This year’s run will take place November 4 at 9:00 a.m. in Standish Park, Old Wethersfield. Register to participate or support a runner today!

Major sponsors and partners for Jamie’s Run include OPTUM, US Environmental Rental Corp, Fuss & O’Neill, Phoenix Laboratories, Gottier Fuel, Salewa Dynafit, Tesla, Sunshine Entertainment, Dr. Burstein Family Dentistry, David Wesley Real Estate, Olde Liberty Insurance and Collection Bureau Hudson Valley, Manchester CERT, Wethersfield Police Department, and Ashford School.