Twenty-eight minutes and thirty seven seconds after the starting horn sounded, 12-year-old Luke Anderson crossed the finish line on a beautiful Saturday morning elated with his accomplishment. A leukemia survivor, Luke joined his family and other participants at the Walk-Run for Friends of Karen at the Long Island Marathon’s 5K race.
This 8th annual event began in 2007 with 25 participants and spearheaded by Luke’s mother, Evelyn Anderson, a former South Setauket resident, who wanted to celebrate her son’s life by running a race in his honor.
In 2013, Luke ran with his older brother, Patrick, and their mom, and this year the sports-enthusiastic family, including younger sisters, Ciara and Shannon and dad Todd, drove from their New Milford, Conn., home the night before to rest up in a local hotel and get to the start line with 609 other participants – one-quarter of them supporters of Friends of Karen.
“It was amazing to see the support of all these people, running, walking and raising funds for Friends of Karen,” Evelyn said. “And heartwarming for our family that we have an opportunity to give back to this organization in this fun way.”
Since 1978, Friends of Karen has been providing emotional, financial and advocacy support for children with a life-threatening illness and their families in order to keep them stable, functioning and able to cope. The organization has helped more than 12,900 children in the New York tri-state region.