Salisbury’s W.T. Clarke schools drew dozens of students, families and runners from across Long Island to their 11th annual Run with the Rams.
Each year, the one-mile fun run and 5K raises funds for members of the community in need of support, with the remaining money going toward the W.T. Clarke athletic program.
The event has raised a total of $20,000 over the past 11 years with $2,000 helping three families this year. They are John Melkun, this year’s valedictorian at W.T. Clarke High School whose mother was recently hospitalized; the Sandhu family, for their daughter who is in seventh-grade at W.T. Clarke Middle School and battling Osteogenic Sarcoma, and Karl Bouyer, a wrestler for W.T. Clarke High School whose brother Jasan Stewart, 22, has cerebral palsy.
Stewart was born at 26 weeks and weighed 1.5 pounds. He can be seen at most W.T. Clarke High School football games and wrestling meets, where he watches his younger brother Karl Bouyer compete.
Most of the time, Stewart uses a motorized wheelchair for transportation. His mother once used a BraunAbility wheel chair accessible vehicle, but it has sustained damage overtime and she is seeking a new one that would cost $70,000.
Stewart now uses a manual wheelchair to fit in a standard vehicle, but it impedes his mobility. Despite being uncomfortable in the manual wheelchair, Stewart never complains, his friends say. They created a gofundme page to help his mother with the costs of a new vehicle and as of the Monday after the event, it had reached $2,515 of its $70,000 goal.
“Our main goal is to donate to the families,” said Josh Friedman, the race coordinator and director of athletics at W.T. Clarke schools. He and a committee made up of W.T. Clarke teachers seek nominations for family beneficiaries, most often accommodating all that are submitted.
Last year was also the first that Metro Physical Therapy came on as a sponsor to help runners prepare for the race. Trainers from NYU Winthrop Hospital also volunteered there time to help competitors.
“And the community supports it,” Friedman said. “If the community didn’t support it, it wouldn’t be this successful.”