Pineapple Classic raises $160,000 for blood cancer

The Mighty Minions team of Gina Murray, Amy Girolametti, Erin Dyroff, Kristina Villamana and Stephanie Zowine were one of the teams at the classic.

The Mighty Minions team of Gina Murray, Amy Girolametti, Erin Dyroff, Kristina Villamana and Stephanie Zowine were one of the teams at the classic.

The local chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphona Society (LLS) eld its fourth annual Pineapple Classic 5k at the Greenwich Polo Club May 17.

The Hawaiian-themed event brought in more than 950 participants and raised more than $160000 for blood cancer research and patient services. U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-4th), a Cos Cob resident, and Police Chief James Heavey were among those in attendance, and guests were able to sample local cuisine from vendors like Dinosaur Bar-B-Que of Stamford while live band Doghouse provided music.

Pineapple Classic Planning Commitee member and leukemia survivor Kevin Camera offered commented on the urgency shown by the LLS as they seek a cure for cancer “not someday, but today.”

Jackqueline McClean Markes, who lost her son Kyle Markes to acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) on Dec. 24, 2013 shared her experiences during the event. Dr. McClean has worked to raise awareness and African American participation in the national bone marrow registry since her son’s diagnosis. Of the 10.5 million registered bone marrow donors, only seven percent are African-American or black.

Kyle’s immediate family members were not a match, and though a donor was eventually found, the ALL spread before a transplant could take place. He fought the disease for more than a year before passing away on Christmas Eve. In his honor, Dr. McClean has established Kyle’s Corner bone marrow drives, which have already produced life-changing results for four people.

Dr. McClean also organized a team for the event under the name Kyle’s Corner, and together they raised $23,000 for the event. Proceeds from the 2014 Pineapple Clsasic will benefit blood cancer patients and help fund new research.

LLS thanks sponsors Web MD Health Foundation, Whole Foods Market of Greenwich, Davenport Contracting of Stamford, Serendipity Magazine, Banksville Independant Fire Department, Greenwich Polo Club, Milow Cancer Hospital Greenwich Campus, CT Information Security, OOHA Wilkins, CertaPro Painters, Ultimate Grounds, BMW of Greenwich, Praxair, Benjamin Moore, and Jack and Jill of America. We also want to thank Nestle Waters, PepsiCo, Longford’s Ice Cream, Ola Granola, AT&T, Star 99.9, Spiked Seltzer, Starbuck’s of Greenwich, Trader Joe’s of Stamford, Stamford Sports & Spine, Honest Tea, Skinny Pop, Pretzel Crisps, Keurig, Energizer-Schick of Stamford, Sweaty Betty of Greenwich, Pure Barre of Greenwich, Mavis Tire, Independent Residential and Runners Roost of Darien.

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