5K to raise money for cancer victims

10th annual race has 200 pre-registered runners


This Saturday, May 7, the 10th annual Courtney Lynn Blakeslee Foundation 5K race will be held in Blue Point.

Held since 2012 when the foundation was formed for a remarkable young mother who died of cancer, the race raises money to benefit local families in the Suffolk County area who have been affected by cancer.

Typically, the race raises over $30,000 with around 400 runners annually, about half of whom pre-register in the weeks leading up to the race.

“We get a lot of families or teams of runners,” said Heather Felice, one of Blakeslee’s best friends who is a founding member of the foundation. “You’ll see a lot of groups with matching T-shirts.”

The event is the foundation’s biggest fundraiser of the year and benefits two to three families whose lives have been uprooted by the financial, emotional, and social costs of a loved one stricken with cancer.

“We help kids, especially, [to be able to] have the simple pleasures in life like a fishing trip, or a Broadway show, or new computers,” said Felice.

Over the 10 years in operation, the foundation has helped over 30 families in the Suffolk area.

In previous years, the foundation has helped a young lady buy a car after she had saved up some money for one, and granted other course-of-life milestones.

“We have a network of people who are feelers and find out about families that are suffering,” said Felice, adding, “We help with Christmas gifts and other financial assistance. We’re not Make-a-Wish, but we work hard to help as much financially as we can.”
The goal of the financial assistance is “the normality they would have had otherwise, if not for cancer,” said Felice.

Other than the 5K run, the foundation has also had Christmas parades in Patchogue and even organized a day with the Islanders, where children were brought center-ice to meet professional hockey players.

This year, there will be a barbecue in September for race attendees at The Oar in Patchogue, which is owned by Blakeslee’s parents and run by her sister. There will be live music, raffles, and giveaways. It will be open to anyone who donates $20 to the foundation.

The race starts in Blue Point at the Corey Beach pavilion and past Blakeslee’s home where she raised her children.

Tragically, Blakeslee had been diagnosed with cancer at seven months pregnant and had to deliver prematurely. From her diagnosis, Blakeslee died only a few months after, with her second son being only 2 months old at the time of her death.

A strong and persistent attorney, Blakeslee worked for the Town of Brookhaven as a zoning lawyer before leaving to join a private practice in Nassau County.

“Courtney was the girl everyone wanted to know. She had a vibrant personality. She was the friend you always wanted and the sister you never had. Whether it was in the courtroom or at a party, she was a magnet with her beautiful personality,” said Felice.

The 5K this Saturday is open to all groups and non-runners and can sign up the day of the race.


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