Saturday's Marathon the first without Cherie


The late Cherie Stevens will be on the minds of everyone at the Marathon for a Better Life Saturday.
A founder of the walk that aids Schoharie County cancer patients, Ms. Stevens died last June 16, only two weeks after the 22nd Marathon.
“In her spirit, we’ve moving forward,” said Marathon President Kathy Diamond. “We’re feeling strong, feeling together. The board is full of heart.”
The aim of the Marathon is the same as when Ms. Stevens and friends started it years ago: Provide money to local cancer patients, no questions asked.
Patients and their families typically use the money for fuel, travel expenses, medicine, groceries, whatever. Those families welcomed Marathon help in stressful times.
“This is our 23rd year, and helping those cancer patients is still our goal,” Ms. Diamond said.
The Marathon format is still the same. Teams of walkers, having raised Marathon money all year, circle the Champlin Hall parking lot at SUNY Cobleskill in an inspirational show of support for patients.
Although many teams have signed up, teams can still register on Saturday, Ms. Diamond said.
There will be a memory board honoring Ms. Stevens, and longtime friend Ron Cleeve will speak of her, as will another friend, Matt Coltrain, at opening ceremonies at 10am.
“There will be more emotional challenges this year than ever before,” Ms. Diamond said.
Then, the survivors’ lap will start the Marathon, followed by a caregivers’ lap before all teams join in.
There’s more than walking to the Marathon. A silent auction, children’s crafts, vendors’ booths, pie contest, scavenger hunt and more will be available, all with the thrust of raising money for cancer patients.
Piggy bank deposits will be taken starting at 11am.
Brian Garreau, who’s been the DJ for parts of many Marathon, will DJ this year for the entire time, leading up to the 9pm awards presentation and luminary ceremony, which will be in Ms. Stevens’ memory. Pastor David Houck will lead the closing.
The Marathon board of directors, many who have served for years, did well pulling together in Ms. Stevens’ absence, Ms. Diamond said.
“Our board has done a great job,” she said, “but we couldn’t do this without the community. They’re the real stars of the Marathon.”
Besides Ms. Diamond, Marathon officers are Mina Stella, vice president; Christine Brizzee, treasurer; Lauren Mayer, assistant treasurer; Dawn Bialkowski, secretary; Nancy Bartholomew, assistant secretary; and Todd Brizzee, historian.
Other board members are Steve Chaisson, Andy Diamond, Veronica Diamond, Dawn Schell, Dennis Shaw, Bruce Tryon and Bobbi Wayman.