When Coleen Greco's father, Allan Morrison, was diagnosed with LBD Coleen refused to just sit back and watch. Instead, she banded with her family to raise money for LBDA’s mission and to also raise awareness of the disease. Turning to her community with her passion for running, Coleen set out to make a difference in the lives of all LBD families.
The 2009 inaugural Allan D. Morrison 5k Run/Walk raised a whopping $33,000. On the heels of LBDA's A Week To Remember LBD awareness campaign, Coleen will do it again on October 16th with new goals in tow.
“There are two ways you can look at this: You can lie back and let it happen or you can develop something positive and make a difference. And that is how this road race came about,” said Steve Greco, Coleen's husband.
As avid runners, Coleen and Steve felt that it was only natural to hold a race to honor Al, also a runner. An inspiration to his own race, Al ran and finished the 2009 race in 42 minutes with his daughter Coleen at his side.
“We did this race because we wanted to let his legacy to be known and wanted people to identify with him and not his disease,” said Coleen. Held in Melrose, Massachusetts, this family friendly event quickly connected families who shared the same journey as Al, and carried Coleen's mutual passion for LBD awareness.
Persistent by nature, Coleen debunked people's perceptions and defied the odds in her first grassroots race. “People told me, you can't have one person organize a race … you will have 50 runners” said Coleen. Yet in 90 days, her grassroots effort raised $33,000 and was well received by over 225 runners on race day in 2009 – tripling every goal, she initially set.
For this year's race, Coleen began her planning six months earlier and set the fundraising bar higher to raise $50,000 for LBDA. Coleen expects 400 runners on race day. Using web-based tools such as Active.com and Firstgiving.com to assist with her fundraising efforts, Coleen has already raised LBD awareness online nationwide. The race’s FaceBook page is filled with personal stories and pictures of other families on the same journey, touching lives beyond New England.
This year's goal will be achieved with race registration, directly soliciting donations and sponsorships and race day fundraising such as raffles. With the help of Awareness week activities, new relationships and the efforts of local LBD support groups, Coleen has seen a 100% increase in participation since the same time last year.
The second annual Allan D. Morrison 5k Run/Walk has nine sponsors and a post race party hosted by the Harpoon Brewery, Water Buffalo Tailgating Club and The Sausage Guy, of Fenway Park fame. Coleen touts her success with sponsorships by looking into her community, actively pursuing her network connections and nurturing relationships from last year's race.
What began as a community event in a small town in New England has now become an inspiration on a national level, bonding the LBD community far and wide, and inspiring LBDA volunteers and their families to do the same events in their communities. This year, Coleen’s race has attracted LBD families from as far as Maryland to partake in the conclusion of Awareness Week festivities. Quite the legacy.