For Lizzy, her diagnosis meant all those trips to CHOP for treatment, but also living her life in an abbreviated version of what she had done before. Gym class and cheerleading were the first things that she had to give up, and the school allowed her to start her day a bit later to allow her some extra time in the morning to bring her strength up.
“The school district was great; they really worked with us,” said Laura. “They moved her schedule around and she was able to get most of her classes in.”
Still, Lizzy missed a lot of days and would panic occasionally that she was falling behind.
“It was pretty difficult,” Lizzy remembered. “It really depended on how I felt that day.”
“Her teachers were fabulous. Initially she tried to do everything that everybody else was doing, but that wasn’t working so they helped her prioritize. At one point we had to threaten to take away Skyward” [Crestwood’s grade app for students],” remarked Laura.
“It’s hard enough to be her age without having to deal with this on top of it,” said Kim Sarna, Rotary and Run Committee member who proposed that the Supkowski family be the beneficiaries of this year’s event. Sarna has had the experience of helping a loved one through cancer treatments and knows first hand how difficult it can be.
“I know what a family goes through and if we can help them in any way-not only with the financial burden, but also the emotional one,” explained Kim. “Having the support of the community is priceless; you can’t buy that.”
Ron acknowledged that community piece in Lizzy’s ordeal, which has included everything from neighbors helping with cooked meals, mowing the lawn and nursing help, to the “boxes of cheer” from Lizzy’s cheer team and letters from Rice and Fairview Elementary students to keep Lizzy’s spirits up.
“To get the family though this whole year has been a community effort,” explained Ron.
“It just seem like every time the funds for travel would run out, another group tells us they want to do something for us and it has been amazing,” added Laura. “It has all just fallen into place.”
Lizzy finished her treatments on September 29 and an initial PET scan and MRI came back looking good. She will need to wait until race weekend, however, for the final PET report and biopsy. She has started this school year with a regular schedule and says that she feels much better. Although a little embarrassed by all the attention, Lizzy plans on attending Conquer the Mountain with her family. In fact, her dad is planning to run the course.
“I was a runner in a previous life and I’m going to attempt to run it,” offered Ron.
Laura and Lizzy shared a look and a chuckle.
The race will begin and end at the Wright Township Park playground and will loop from the park, along South Main Road, through Deerfield Acres, and then back to the park. Anybody who can picture the route while reading this has most likely zeroed in on the fact that the race finishes on the steep uphill from the volleyball field to the playground.
“It’s a tough course,” warned Kim. “It’s why we call it ‘Conquer the Mountain’; it’s challenging.”
Kim adds that this year the Rotary will also accept walkers on the same course and it will be kid friendly. For runners’ safety, however, they ask that there be no strollers, pets, bikes, or roller blades on the course. Water, Gatorade, fruit and other snacks will be available for participants and more than fifteen community businesses are sponsoring or donating to the event.
“I am excited to see the community come together to support Lizzy,” said Kim who added that the committee is working on the basket raffles and already have quite the variety on hand, such as children themes, wine, lottery, and home based businesses such as Mary K. “We are seeing some momentum build through donations and many people wanting to be involved and I think it will really help the family knowing that everyone is behind them”.
Kim says that they anticipate a large turnout and stresses that any support is greatly appreciated by the Rotary Club and the Supkowski family, even if it’s just to come out and cheer for the runners.
“This is just an extension with just how amazing the community has been” said Ron “We’ve been able to keep her spirits up and keep her going. We’ve been able to be emotionally stable and that’s been a blessing from the community. So many people have done fundraisers for us and we’re hoping this will be the last one.”
“God willing.” Added Laura The Conquer the Mountain 5k
Run/Walk will be November 4 at 9am. People can register in advance via NEPA Runner or the Rotary Club’s facebook page or the day of the race at the Wright Township Park pavilions from 7:00-8:30am. Preregistration cost is $35 the day of the race. Kids 12 and under are $12. For more information, contact Nicole Cooper at: email@example.com Jo Gulvas at: