More than 1,000 runners and walkers participated in the inaugural Governor Cellucci Tribute Road Race in Hudson on Saturday, Aug. 2, in honor of the late Paul Cellucci’s commitment to fund ALS research at UMass Medical School and his lifelong dedication to public service. The race, which ran through Paul Cellucci’s historic hometown, benefited the UMass ALS Cellucci Fund, launched by the former governor to fund research into a cure after he was diagnosed with the disease.
“What’s important is that 20 minutes from our home is one of the world’s foremost ALS researchers with an extraordinary team,” said Jan Cellucci, race organizer and the governor’s widow, referring to UMass Medical School’s Robert H. Brown Jr., DPhil, MD, who was the late Gov. Cellucci’s physician. “That team has the ability to take breakthrough opportunities and go in so many different directions. There is an extraordinary amount of excellence at UMass Medical School and we need to support their work.”
The goal of the UMass ALS Cellucci Fund is to establish an endowment to seed the boldest research ideas in the interdisciplinary laboratories at UMMS under the direction of Dr. Brown, the Leo P. and Theresa M. LaChance Chair in Medical Research and chair and professor of neurology, and one of the world’s foremost authorities on ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease). Cellucci died in June 2013 from complications of ALS. He was 65.
Jan Cellucci said she, her daughters, Kate Cellucci and Anne Cellucci Adams, and the entire race committee were thrilled by the large turnout. She noted the event served as a “rallying point” for the many participants who were supporting a loved one with ALS or remembering someone lost to the disease.
Gov. Deval Patrick welcomed runners at the starting line. Former Gov. William Weld and several former colleagues of Gov. Cellucci ran the race. Jan and Paul Cellucci’s four grandchildren, Rhys, Francesca and Lucia Adams and Gabriel Westberg, also attended, as well as many other family members and close friends.
For complete race results, visit the Governor Cellucci Tribute Road Race website. To learn more about the UMass ALS Cellucci Fund, visit the fund website. For more photos from the event, visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/umassmedicalschool/.