Wilton Cure-iors team captain Jeff Snyder (L) and member Jenn Lewis (R) flank Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation director Jay Scott.
Wilton’s incredible cancer-fighting running team, the “Wilton Cure-iors” got a rewarding boost over the weekend: Jay Scott, the director of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and the creator of the Million Mile Run, visited Wilton to run a 4-plus mile “fun run” with the team.
“I think the Wilton team is awesome. They’re driving me crazy because I can’t keep up with them! I’m very competitive. Both in miles and trying to raise money, they are just knocking it out of the park!” Scott said.
The team, now almost 90 people strong, is running to raise money to fight pediatric cancer. For the event, each team member is trying to run and/or walk up to 100 miles through the month of September. As of press time the “Warriors for the Cure” (as they’re also known) have collectively raised just over $27,000 and logged more than 3,600 miles.
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) was founded by Alex Scott, a little girl fighting her own cancer battle, who at age four held her first lemonade stand to raise money to help find a cure for all children with Cancer. Although she lost her fight at age eight in 2004, the Foundation bearing her name has evolved into a national fundraising movement. Jay Scott is Alex’s father.
He said everything that the Wilton team is doing is above and beyond, and he also had a surprise reward for the team: Volvo made a $2,500 donation to the Wilton team “to show their appreciation of the amazing effort for the first half of the Million Mile Run.”
Scott said he’s encouraged by the kind of community participation and support he sees here and across the country.
“We’re not going to hit a million miles. We didn’t expect to in the first year. But in the first year we wanted to get people excited—we have 5,000 people who are doing this nationwide, we’ve already raised a couple hundred thousand dollars and the money is coming in fast and steady, it hasn’t slowed down at all. So we’re really excited. That is more people than we’ve ever had in an event in its first year. It feels great to have that kind of response. I think it’s going to be huge in years to come.”
The Wilton team was started by the indefatigable Jeff Snyder, a Wilton resident who has been a passionate fundraiser and supporter of ALSF and of Lyla’s Fund, as well as of his own cancer foundation, the Cord Foundation, which was started to help fund research for kids fighting spinal cord tumors like the one Snyder’s daughter, Kennedy, has.
Scott is wowed by the support the community has given to all the kids fighting cancer and their families.
“Jeff and his wife, and me and my family—we’re in it because we have to be, because of our kids. All these other people are in it because they want to be. I think that’s awesome.”
One Wilton team member, Jenn Lewis, said she was incredibly inspired and excited by the chance to meet Scott. “It makes me very sad that he lost his daughter to this nasty disease, yet it warms my heart that he is trying to make a difference so that others don’t have to go through what he has gone through. He has created an incredible legacy for his daughter. I decided to participate in support of our local families that are dealing with pediatric cancer currently. Meeting him definitely put it that much more in perspective.”
Scott also loves how the quest to log miles has helped families participate together, something that’s important to him. “People tell us, ‘My family is taking walks together, we’ve never done that.’ A lot of time nowadays, people don’t even eat dinner together, so to take walks… ‘Last week we ran to get ice cream as a family, and then ran home.’ We’re hearing stories like that from all across the country. I think it’s really cool.”
He told one other story that he hoped would remind runners why their commitment to run—and why everyone reading this with the potential to help by donating—is so important. “There’s a team in California, from a talent agency that represents actors and actresses, one of the executives there has a daughter who’s been fighting a brain tumor for years. She is determined to walk a couple miles in the Million Mile Run. She has become wheelchair-bound, she can walk a little bit, but she’s very weak. Her father said she’s so determined to get a couple miles in. If she can go through that, I think we can all put our miles in too.”