March Cure Champion

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This month we are excited to feature our Boston Marathon Team and coaches as our March Cure Champions. This driven group of runners will be racing 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston on Monday, April 20. Learn more about each member of Team JDRF below!

Chris Benjamin

On April 15 my daughter, Natalie, will mark 25 years with diabetes, and I will be packing my bags to fly to Boston to run the 124th Boston Marathon. This will be my third time running the Boston Marathon for JDRF, an organization that gives hope to all children with diabetes and their families.

I first ran the Boston Marathon in 2013 when Natalie was a senior at Wellesley College and was marking her 18th year with diabetes. As I run this year, Natalie is completing her dissertation for her PhD in clinical psychology.

As a former president of JDRF Hawaii and former member of JDRF’s International Research Review Panel, I know firsthand what an effective organization it is, and how critical it is to support its work to end type 1 diabetes (T1D). I am excited to run in Boston with several of my friends and fellow JDRF supporters.

 

Greg Fox

I am a pediatric endocrinologist practicing in East Providence, Rhode Island and the president and medical director of Camp Surefire, Rhode Island’s only camp for children and teens with T1D. I have been active with JDRF for 20 years, attending many family events and fundraisers, and collaborating with JDRF at Camp Surefire.  My wife, Alison, and I were honored at the 5th Annual JDRF Rhode Island Hope Ball for our outstanding contributions to the T1D community.  To celebrate my recent 50th birthday, I have joined Team JDRF to raise awareness and money towards a cure for T1D.

 

 

Julia Gregory

I’m a life-long runner and Massachusetts native excited to run my first marathon! I graduated from Boston College in 2018 and am living in South Boston. I’m running the Boston Marathon this April in honor of my cousin, Joe Kenney, who we lost in October to complications of his T1D. Joe was four months older than me and this year’s Boston Marathon comes the day after what should have been his 25th birthday. I can think of no better birthday present to Joe and to my whole family than fundraising for JDRF and running 26.2 miles in his honor.

 

Peter Hill

I am a long time JDRF supporter and am excited to run my seventh Boston Marathon this April. I currently serve on the Board for the JDRF New York City / Long Island Chapter and look forward to returning to Boston every spring. I run in honor of family members who live with T1D.

 

Andy Sugg

This will be my third Boston Marathon for JDRF—and fourth overall. I am again running for my son, Sam, who was diagnosed with T1D 13 years ago at the age of 12. My run this year will also honor the memory of Joe Kenney, Sam’s good friend and roommate, who died from complications with his T1D last October. JDRF has been a constant presence in our lives since 2007 and I am honored to run with those four letters on my shirt one more time in April.

 

Jennifer Tolland

I am thrilled to share that I will once again be running the Boston Marathon as part of Team JDRF. As many of you know, my aunt, Mary Tolland, started running the Boston Marathon on behalf of JDRF when I was younger and passed the baton off to me in 2017.

My family became involved with JDRF when my older brother, Brien, was diagnosed with T1D when he was four-years-old. At this time, my parents were told that there would probably be a cure for T1D by the time he graduated high school. Brien is now 30 years old and a high school and college graduate. Although tremendous progress has been made in research, there is still not a cure for T1D.

The reason I decided to run again this year and am asking you for your support is so the four-year-olds that are being diagnosed today will see the cure by the time they graduate high school, like my parents so hoped for.

 

Mary Tolland, Coach

Honestly, I grew into long distance running at the age of 40 years young. Marathoning for me coincidentally started at approximately the same time my nephew, Brien was diagnosed with T1D. Running had yet another purpose for me besides inviting the fitness, clarity and solitude the sport lends to one’s well-being. It became running for a CURE! And so it went….for many pre-team years, independently fundraising for JDRF with the help of family, friends and colleagues. I had the pleasure of meeting Neil, during these early years, who became a kindred spirit, running for the same thing on behalf of his son! Until we had the promise of a team, we ran our own races in order to qualify for the Boston Marathon! Over the years, I have transitioned from runner to coach for Team JDRF.  The journey since then has been wonderful, as these teams have become family. As a coach, I will be the wind at your backs and the horn you hear on the sidelines. Our team is small, but mighty! Toot-Toot!!

 

Neil Wallack, Coach

JDRF has always been a family affair with my wife, Lisa, now playing an even more important role in our quest for a cure. She was just appointed the incoming Vice Chair of the Board of JDRF International. Lisa’s father, Dr. Gerald Fishbone, was the Chair of JDRF International in the 1980’s and Lisa’s mother Marilyn Fishbone founded the New Haven Chapter, after Lisa’s brother Scott was diagnosed with T1D in 1970. My father, Dr. Milton Wallack, served more recently as the New Haven Chapter President and, with the tireless support and counsel of my mother Joan Wallack, he has helped secure tens of millions of dollars for diabetes-related research from the State of Connecticut.

I run in honor of my son, Harris, who has been living with T1D for 19 years. Today, Harris is nearly 24 years old and remains busy working as a sales executive in the Boston area.

This year in an attempt to further motive my supporters, I will first don the JDRF singlet at the Jerusalem Marathon in March, and will then run the Boston Marathon exactly one month later, on April 20. I am excited to return to Team JDRF not only as a runner but also a coach.