Helped by the RunIn the days following the Runnin O’ the Green this year, event founder Larry Knoblich will visit close to 20 people who are battling cancer and give them a check for $500 to be used for expenses.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
In the days following the Runnin O’ the Green this year, event founder Larry Knoblich will visit close to 20 people who are battling cancer and give them a check for $500 to be used for expenses.
Knoblich calls around town to find people in need and none know they will receive help until he is at their front door. The money donated to those people comes from the registrations of those taking part in the charity run.
Following the Run in 1990, Knoblich helped the family of then 6-year-old Cassie Stratford. It was the first family to receive assistance from run proceeds.
“Cassie broke her leg when she was 6 years old and with that came a diagnosis that she had bone cancer,” said Cassie’s mother, Jacquie Stratford of Jamestown. “We went to Mayo Clinic in Rochester (Minn.) and we spent almost all of the next year in Rochester for her treatment.”
Neither Jacquie, Cassie or Knoblich remember how much that first check was for, but Jacquie said it was much appreciated.
“We were ever so grateful of Larry for thinking of us — all the efforts he put in,” Jacquie said. “He really helped out because it gets to be pretty difficult financially, going through a major illness like that.”
The determined Cassie would eventually beat bone cancer, but lost her left leg in the battle.
“I think the hardest thing for me was when she ended up getting an infection and at one point in time they thought they could save her leg, and then they informed us she would have to have her leg amputated, and relaying that information to her,” Jacquie said.
Now an in-house lawyer for a gaming company based in Las Vegas, Cassie said she has little recollection of her tribulations in Rochester. She even met President Ronald Reagan during a visit, but remembers only by looking at a picture of the two, while both were in the Mayo Clinic.
Cassie said she recalls the good times, like family visits and the clinic’s play room. Once home, she said she remembers having to relearn how to walk and ride a bike.
Cassie went on to serve as captain of the swim team her senior year at Jamestown High School. From there she obtained an undergraduate degree at Georgetown University and eventually her law degree from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
“You learn a new appreciation for what you can do, you learn an appreciation in your life for the people that have done so much for you,” Cassie said. “So many people helped me and my family out during that time, and the race (Runnin O’ The Green) is a perfect example of that.”
Recent estimates put the total amount of money raised at the Run donated to Elks Camp Grassick and area cancer patients at close to $300,000 since the event started 35 years ago.
Knoblich hopes the $500 given to each cancer patient this year will help, even though he knows it’s not that much.
“Many cases in this day and age $500 will only pay for a few trips to the Roger Maris Center (a Fargo-based cancer treatment center),” he said
But just knowing that people are willing to help out, even if it is a little, is reassuring for Cassie.
“I think what a valuable lesson in so many ways that people are there for other people and your family is there for you,” Cassie said. “I think there’s so much positive you can take out of it — I try not to think of the other stuff.”
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org