In this family photo, Craig Adams stands with Gov. Paul Cellucci, Anne Cellucci Adams and their son, Rhys
Former Massachusetts Gov. Paul Cellucci dedicated the final years of his life to working toward a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, founding the UMass ALS Cellucci Fund to drive awareness and funding for the ALS breakthroughs happening at UMass Medical School and in the laboratory of Robert H. Brown Jr., DPhil, MD, one of the world’s leading ALS researchers.
On April 17, Craig Adams, son-in-law of Gov. Cellucci, will continue his family’s legacy, running the 2017 Boston Marathon to support the Cellucci Fund. Adams said it is only fitting to be part of a team raising money in the governor’s memory focused on ALS, the disease that took his life.
“Unfortunately, as you get older, inevitably you get touched by something—ALS, cancer or something else—and you start to realize why people become committed to support a cause and go out of their way to help. There are many great causes and this, the UMass ALS Cellucci Fund, is that to our family and probably always will be,” said Adams, who is married to Anne Cellucci Adams.
Adams, for whom the 2017 marathon will be his first, is joined by four other people who will represent the UMass ALS Cellucci Fund in the 121st Boston Marathon who have been touched by ALS and are committed to raising awareness of and funds for breakthrough ALS research underway at UMass Medical School.
“Anybody living with ALS, or seeing the disease firsthand knows the impact that it has for everyone involved,” said Jamie Miller, of Hudson, who will run in honor of her brother, Terry Nash, who has ALS. “My hope is to continue raising awareness, and make this disease something that is treatable. I’m truly grateful to be a part of the UMass ALS Cellucci Team, and will continue to do what I can to help.”
This is the sixth year that runners supporting the Cellucci Fund have taken part in the John Hancock nonprofit marathon program. The partnership provides official race numbers to those who commit to raising a minimum of $7,500 to support ALS research at UMMS. The Cellucci Fund marathon teams have raised more than $270,000.
Kerri Floramo, of Malden, and Miller are returning members of the Cellucci Team. Three new runners will complete the group, including Sarah Nocco, a medical student from Boston University whose father died from ALS; Christine Hetzel, of Melbourne, Fla, whose mother died from the disease; and Adams, of Needham.
Adams and Miller said the cause, the spirit of the race and the familial connections will help carry them to the finish line.
“After being gone from the area for a while, my wife and I and our family were reminded of how much the marathon is part of the culture of the city,” said Adams, who retired from professional hockey last year after a 14-year career, most recently with the Pittsburgh Penguins. “I started to think about running and knowing that it is a big part of the Cellucci Fund efforts, it seemed like a perfect fit.”
For Miller, the experience of running the 2016 marathon with the Cellucci Fund team was an honor she is happy to be part of again.
“Running in support of my brother, Terry, last year was undoubtedly a life changing experience. Seeing him cheer me on in Framingham was a moment that made all of the training and fundraising worthwhile,” Miller said.
The Cellucci Fund has generated nearly $4 million since it was established in 2011 in honor of the former governor, who died from complications of ALS in 2013. The money raised goes to fund ALS breakthroughs happening across UMMS and in the laboratory of Dr. Brown, the Leo P. and Theresa M. LaChance Chair in Medical Research, chair and professor of neurology, Gov. Cellucci’s personal physician and one of the world’s leading ALS researchers.
To support the UMass ALS Cellucci Fund team in the Boston Marathon, visit https://www.crowdrise.com/UMassMemorialBoston2017