By Jim Newell
Review Staff Writer
Many mothers wish for the best for their family, their friends, their community. If every mother’s wish were granted, one would have to wonder what a wonderful world it would be.
Former LO teacher Kathy Luby had the wish to “pay forward” the support she received during her own battle with breast cancer by helping others afflicted with the disease.
“Before she died in 2008, she told people (family and friends) that so many people in the community did so much for her that she wanted to give back,” said Carol St. Henry, co-founder of A Mother’s Wish in 2010 and Luby’s friend since high school.
“She passed away before she could fulfill that wish, so her friends and family said ‘We need to carry this on. We need to do something.’”
The sixth annual 5K/10K Run/Walk for A Mother’s Wish is Sept. 17, sponsored by A Mother’s Wish founders and Health Quest Physical Therapy.
The race is the embodiment of Luby’s wish, a way to financially support Oakland County women afflicted with breast cancer.
“The race is our big fundraiser. We usually get 500 people to sign up,” St. Henry said. “We have raised more than $200,000 since we started, and we’ve helped numerous women.”
So far, A Mother’s wish has helped 200 women in Oakland County who have cancer, helping to alleviate the financial and emotional toll of medical bills and living with cancer.
“If they’re going to pay their medical bills and then they don’t have enough money for groceries, we’ll give them a Meijer gift card,” said Donna Bertacini, co-founder of A Mother’s Wish and Luby’s friend since second grade.
“They tell us what they need and sometimes we pay their bills, and sometimes we write them a check,” said Bertacini, noting that the donations have helped with such necessities as groceries, rent, car payments and maintenance, utilities and daycare.
“This was her wish, to go out and help others,” Bertacini said. “And now we’re just trying to help others in the area for her. It just feels better helping your neighbors.”
“She wanted to be the champion of this cause and couldn’t. I’m sure she is smiling down on us and saying ‘Way to go,’” she said.
A dozen of Luby’s high school friends, neighbors and her family run A Mother’s Wish. “We’re a diverse group of friends who do this, along with Kathy’s husband, Don,” St. Henry said, adding that she is “very proud that 90 percent on every dollar raised goes directly to the women.”
“We don’t take any money or salary, it’s all volunteer. And it benefits anyone in Oakland county who has breast cancer,” St. Henry said.
The race is part of a weekend of activities benefitting A Mother’s Wish.
On Friday, the Lake Orion varsity football team plays Oxford in a Pink Out game to help raise funds for the cause.
“She would be very proud of what we have accomplished,” Bertacini said. “I have my boys, who see what I do with this charity, and it is so important. Important because maybe the next generation will see what we’re doing and carry this on.”
A Mother’s Wish
6th annual 5K/10K Run/Walk
· LOHS, 9 a.m., Sept. 17.
· Pre-register online by Sept. 9 for t-shirt orders at amotherswishmichigan.com.
· Online registration closes at 5 p.m. Sept. 16. Registration fee is $25.
· Race day registration is 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. at the high school and is $35.
· Participants can also register as a team. The three largest teams get trophies and gift cards to local restaurants.