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August 29, 2011 8:09 pm

Ellen’s Run Tops 1000 Participants

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avatar by Maxine Dovere

Ellen Hermanson inspired the founding by her sister of the Cancer Foundation.

For 16 years, Ellen Hermanson has been remembered and her work combating breast cancer continued through the efforts of the Ellen Hemanson Foundation and its signature event, the annual Ellen’s Run, a 5K race for runners, walkers, women, men and children. Hermanson aggressively battled breast cancer for several years. Diagnosed soon after the birth of her daughter, she fought the illness and became an advocate for women’s health, seeking to “give voice to the needs of breast cancer survivors.” Seeking strength in her heritage, she was one of the founders of the Jewish Healing Center, and served as its founding executive director and editor of its newsletter, The Outstretched Arm.

Ellen Hermanson died April 11, 1995, at the age of 42, leaving a legacy of information and resources, “dignity, courage, determination, grace and love.”  The Ellen Hermanson Foundation, organizer of Ellen’s Run continues her work. Founded in 1997 by Hermanson’s sister, Dr. Julie Ratner, it funds services to breast cancer patients on the East End of Long Island. Its target areas include educational outreach, psychosocial support services, and research focused on improving pain management and pain treatment methodologies. It’s mission recognizes the “changing nature of the physical and emotional aspects of breast cancer,” and seeks to provide resources for patients and their families.

The First Annual Ellen’s Run had 500 participants and raised approximately $62,000. In its 2011, 16th annual event, “run” August 21, more than 1,000 participated. Under the auspices of the Foundation, $2.7 million in grants have been awarded to the Foundation which supports the the Ellen Hermanson Breast Center at South Hampton Hospital and much of the hospital’s state of the of-the-art treatment technology. Its medical advisory board includes prominent specialists in oncology and pain management.

Ellen’s Run is a family oriented event aimed at both serious and “casual” runners – women and men – walkers, and supporters of all ages. Organizers note that it “engenders camraderie and community,” as participants support or memorialize a loved one. Breast cancer survivors are recognized and applauded for their courage with a special prize awarded to the first survivor to finish the race.  Winners of the 2011 run include Nicholas Ellenoff (17:27), women’s winner Jessica Van Binsbergen (19:36), breast cancer survivors Jimmy Perreca (23:25) and Bette Clark (23:28).

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Susan Wald, professionally known as “Tulip the Clown” added her talents to the 2011 event, creating face painting and body decoration. “The most popular items were pink ribbons on arms, hands and cheeks,” said the funny lady. Asked what is different about face painting at Ellen’s Run, she noted the popularity of the ribbon requests. “It helps publicize a very important cause and reminds women of the need to get yearly mammograms. Early detection saves lives.”

Most moving about the run said Wald is “the continuity of the survivors” She noted that several women who were once in stage 4 have survived and, years later, are still ‘in the running.’  But, we still have a long way to go.”

Susan Wald happily known as "Tulip The Clown" entertained and decorated participants in the 2011 Ellen's Run. Tulip has been part of the "Run" for seven years. Photo: Maxine Dovere.

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