Race for the Ribbon brings out ties that bind from Rehoboth to Afghanistan
The Race for the Ribbon 5K held July 20 had two starting lines. One was at the head of Wilmington Avenue in Rehoboth; the other was in Afghanistan. But the cause was the same to raise funds for cancer research, to heighten awareness, showing that not only soldiers can bring the fight to this medical menace, and also to offer support for those currently on the front lines and and remembrance to those who have fought the fight.
Tom MacLeish, a retired Delaware State Police colonel and longtime supporter of Delaware Special Olympics, lost his little sister Chrissy to breast cancer two years ago. Tom's son Danny is serving in Afghanistan, and he and 10 members of the the Delaware National Guard's 153rd Military Police Company ran the Race for the Ribbon in honor of Danny's aunt, Chrissy MacLeish Baker. The MacLeish clan had 21 people in the race.
Another well-known local Cape family dealing with breast cancer is the Bartleys, as Erin, the wife of Terry and mother of Kevin, Bo and Meg, was diagnosed more than a year ago. In her own words:
"I know it broke my heart just thinking about telling the kids I had cancer and their struggle with it. And I couldn't fix it for them. But I have been so touched by their actions during all of this and amazed by their strength. It makes me stronger. They have taken turns coming to my chemo treatments. Kevin, who works in New York and has faithfully called me every day to check in, said to me one day, 'Mom, you have always taken care of us; now you need to let us take care of you.' I cried. It has been great to have Meg and Bo home all summer. And Terry...what can I say...he has been amazing. My rock."
The race attracted 255 runners and was won by Josh Forlds in 16:12. The women's race was won by Amanda Rickert in 19:25.
The Race for the Ribbon began as a tribute to Stephanie Shuttleworth’s mom, Nancy L. Hendershot, who endured a long, hard battle with breast cancer. "Now, our family is motivated to help another as they go through their own difficult time," says Shuttleworth.