Chuck Waggner started sponsoring and running in the Darien Road Race back when it started in 1979 to benefit the Community Fund of Darien. Organizers are getting things set to run the race in September. As a cancer survivor, Waggner says the race has added meaning now that it benefits the cancer centers at Stamford and Norwalk hospitals.
"I was sponsoring it as I was running it, as a way to support the local community. A lot of people think that because we're in Darien there aren't needs, but there are a lot of needs. I think people are becoming more aware of that," said Waggner, who is sponsoring with Halstead Property.
For the last five years, the race has contributed about $4,000 a year to the Whittingham Cancer Center at Norwalk Hospital. "We have plans to build a new center at the hospital. There are lots of building costs, and the proceeds help in a big way," said Suzanne Schintzius, stewardship manager of the center. She became involved in the race a few months after she started working there, and now is rounding up volunteers to help make the race a success.
Sylvia Spitalnick of the Bennett Cancer Center at Stamford Hospital said, "This enables us to offer the kind of programming that we need to offer the community. It's exhilarating to see the community rise up in support of health."
Though Waggner now uses a wheelchair, he has run in more than 65 marathons and said he used to do "OK" in the 10K Darien Road Race. "Once I got into my 50s, I was going pretty well."
Many volunteer hours need to be put in before the runners race on Sept. 18. But as Waggner and other organizers celebrated at a kickoff party Wednesday night, they knew that the effort would pay off in the end.
Thursday, June 09, 2011