Over the course of the past 12 years, Jim Volpe has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, LLS, in honor of his wife Marianne, who died from leukemia in 2011.
When Marianne Volpe died, Jim Volpe told his friends and family to donate money to the LLS instead of sending him flowers. Jim Volpe unexpectedly received a large check from one of his friends and he asked Robert McIntyre, who works at the LLS, what he should do with this money. McIntyre, who is a leukemia survivor, worked with Volpe to host a 5k in 2012 to collect more money for the LLS. Now, the 5k, which is dubed the Marianne Volpe 5K Pumpkin Run, entered its 12th year.
Volpe mentioned that the first 5k occurred in late October, just before Hurricane Sandy impacted the area. Although there weren’t a lot of participants the first year, Volpe said that the race garnered a little more participants every year. However, Covid decreased the amount of participants again.
“We’re still kind of building back up from Covid,” Volpe said. “It’s been three years, but we’re doing pretty well.”
There was a “fun run” at 9 a.m. in Baldwin Harbor Park on Nov. 4, before the 5k started, for kids. Each kid received a pumpkin and a t-shirt. Afterwards, about 150 people participated in the 5k, which took place at 9:30 a.m. After the run, about 150 people went to Kasey’s Kitchen and Cocktails in Rockville Centre. The bar was one of the sponsors of the race.
“There’s a buffet lunch for free and we usually get about 100 people at the bar,” Volpe said. “All the volunteers, friends, and family come to celebrate.”
The unofficial tally of the money raised is $30,000 and over $300,000 was raised in total from the past 12 years.
“It’s good to see the results of this fundraiser and the progress that the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is making,” Volpe said. “McIntyre had leukemia and is cured now and that was probably because of one of the treatments that we helped support.”
“LLS is at the forefront of the fight to cure cancer,” stated on LLS.org. “Compared to other blood cancer nonprofits, LLS is the largest funder of cutting-edge research to advance cures. We have invested nearly $1.7 billion in research. We are leaders in advancing breakthroughs in immunotherapy, genomics and personalized medicine. This research saves lives. These revolutionary new treatments originally discovered through blood cancer research are now being tested in clinical trials for other cancers.”
The mission for LLS is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, and myeloma.
According to LLS.org, the organization helped advance 70 percent of the blood cancer treatment options since 2017.
This entire fundraiser is a “labor of love” for Volpe.
He said he feels like different groups are making strides to finding better treatments for this deadly disease.