Cancer Support Community

So that no one faces cancer alone.®  


Strides for Hope

Special Events

Strides for Hope

Strides for Hope is a professionally led team of novice and seasoned runners who trained and participated in the St. Luke’s Half Marathon & 5K on April 24, 2016.


2015 Strides for Hope Team

Click here to support our Strides for Hope team!


My name is Jen Sinclair. My purpose in joining Strides for Hope relates to why I came to the Cancer Support Community in the first place. Previous work in family therapy and volunteering gave me a passion for children and families facing multiple health challenges. Personal experiences within my own family taught me many lessons about the impact of cancer, as well. My aunt was the first close relative diagnosed while I was in high school. She approached her treatment with great courage, revealing her hair loss openly to show us that yes, this was real. While I was in college, cancer became real again when my grandmother was diagnosed. From her home to the hospital, my family ensured that she knew she was not alone!

Several years later, when the (formerly named) Wellness Community opened in our area, I knew that this was where I wanted to work. I was drawn to the Patient Active philosophy. More recently, I saw this theme playing out in my family once again, when both of my parents were diagnosed with cancer. They coped through the stress of a diagnosis and treatment with honest attitudes that I respected and applauded. I am very grateful for their current good health. Over the years as a facilitator and program director, I have met wonderful people in our programs.

Our members are close to my heart, and I appreciate the wisdom they continue to teach me. Our staff and volunteers are working hard to keep our programs running because we know their value. I stay inspired from my family, my friends’ families, and our Cancer Support Community  members. This fuels me as I run.

My name is Kim Spotts-Kimmel, and I am currently training for the St. Luke’s Half Marathon with the Strides for Hope team. I’m running in honor of my mom, in memory of my grandfather, and to support the Cancer Support Community. Although I’ve been running since college, I’ve never run, until now, for a cause with deep personal meaning. My mom was diagnosed with cancer during my first semester of law school and, after a hard fight, she pulled through and is a survivor of nearly 15 years. Sadly, come the summer the year following my mom’s diagnosis, we lost my grandfather to the disease, which followed his own fight of nearly 10 years. Having seen the challenges cancer imposed on my mom and grandfather, I understand the value in a community resource that helps cancer patients and their families find support, in their community, from others facing the same difficulties. Cancer Support Community, through its programs and services, ensures that no one with cancer faces the disease alone. With each step I take during training and on race day, I will think of my mom and grandfather, and all those who have faced this disease, including other family members and friends, with the hope that they will never feel alone in their battle to fight cancer.

My name is Nancy Amici. I live in Coopersburg with my husband, son and our two dogs. I am a registered dietitian with Sodexo at Lehigh Valley Hospital. My life has been touched so many times by cancer--from relatives to friends to the patients I care for in the hospital.

My life was first touched by cancer when my aunt was diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer that quickly took her life. Another vivid memory is of a friend being diagnosed with colon cancer in her mid-30s. Despite surgery, chemo, radiation, and a strong fight in her, cancer took her life less than a year later.

I was so moved to act by these and other occurrences that I signed up for walks and Relay for Life to raise money to fund research and raise awareness. But I wanted to do more. In the fall of 2009, at 45 years old and never having run before, I signed up for First Strides at Bethlehem Township Community Center and started running that August. By October 2009, I ran my first 5K in the Women’s 5K Classic. Since that first 5K, I’ve lost count of how many I’ve run. But I do know that 99% of the races are to raise money for cancer-related causes.

This is my second time running the St. Luke’s 5K and raising money for the Cancer Support Community. I support the organization because all the money raised stays right here to support the programs that will help families in our community. Crossing the finish line in a race is a good feeling, but helping others is an even better feeling!

My name is Alissa Thomas, and I've been running long distance races for 10 years now. I decided to join the Strides for Hope team because the Cancer Support Community is such an important organization in the Lehigh Valley.
In 2011, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. Three years later, she is a strong cancer survivor. The Cancer Support Community has been an important part of her journey as a survivor. This year's St. Luke's Half Marathon will be my ninth half marathon and my fourth time running this race. I'm really excited to be a part of this running community and to be raising money for such a great cause! When I'm not running, I work as a project manager in the insurance industry. I also like CrossFit, yoga, and cooking, and I volunteer as a coach for the Girls on the Run of the Lehigh Valley.

Thanks for your support!

My name is Deb Post. I am the Events Coordinator at the Cancer Support Community. This is my second 5K, and my first with the Strides for Hope team.

I want to run and support the Strides team because I truly believe in everything we do at the Cancer Support Community. Building the Strides for Hope team helps bring the awareness needed to the amazing programs provided here. We all know someone or will possibly know someone who will be or has been affected by cancer.

My grandfather passed away from cancer. I have many friends affected by cancer. Cancer Support Community provides quality of life by finding a sense of hope and control.

That is why I run.

My name is Jean Gerding. The first time I ever heard the word “cancer” was when my mother’s brother (my maternal uncle) died from lung cancer (I was about nine, and he was in his 40s). I did not know then but cancer would affect my life numerous times: my maternal aunt, my best male friend, two very, very dear girlfriends, my mother, and myself. The most recent was my mother who died from acute leukemia on April 16, 2011. (I ran on April 28, 2011 with her death clearly front and center. My right knee decided to not let me run or, in fact, walk too well, but I finished that race with my mentor’s husband telling me to walk until I arrived at the stadium and then he would allow me to run. I completed the race by running in pain, but my deceased family and friends were cheering me on so, of course, I had to finish the race by running.)

I am a couch potato during the winter so running or walking in a 5K is a big deal for me. Since I can accomplish a 5K, I do it for my family and friends who cannot. I run for Cancer Support Community because this organization is there for anyone who has been affected by cancer--the survivors themselves, their caregivers, their children, their relatives, and so on.

So long as I can get off the couch, I will run for the Cancer Support Community in the Strides for Hope 5K training team.


My name is Jessica Haile.  I am a high school English teacher, a writer and editor, and a small business owner.  I came to Strides for Hope through my fiancé, Chris, and after watching him race last year, I decided to join him, and despite my professed dislike of running, I know I’ll have a good time with the Strides for Hope team! 

I enjoy helping Chris fix up our house, sewing and knitting, reading, and playing with our crazy cat and dog.  Like Chris, I’m running in memory of his grandmother, Helen Fuko, and my Aunt Cathy as well as in honor of Chris’ mother and my mother, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.  I look forward to honoring these four strong women, as well as the many others who have battled cancer, and I’m thrilled to help raise money for such a caring organization.

My name is Christopher Bagge. I was born and raised outside of Copenhagen, Denmark and moved to the United States in 2001 and to the Lehigh Valley in 2010. In the U.S., I discovered many athletic interests, including kayaking, mountain biking, and running. This year is my second running with Strides for Hope, and I am excited to continuing participating and raising money for such a worthy cause.

When I am not running or working as a computer programmer, I enjoy working around the house, collecting tools, and playing with my cat and dog. I am running in memory of Helen Fuko, my grandmother and Cathy Topits, who passed away in September due to cancer, and in honor of my mother, Barbara Bagge, and my fiancé’s mother, Roberta Paul, who was recently diagnosed with cancer.

My name is Abigail Sparks. It's that time of year again, time to get to training for St. Luke's.  I have had such an incredible run (literally) since beginning my new life as a distance runner.  I remember heading out to my first ever training run with the Cancer Support Community’s Strides for Hope team, wanting to complete a half marathon to honor my father. With the help of this amazing organization I was able to do just that, and more!  Last week, I completed my eighth half marathon in my dad's hometown of Charleston, SC. I got choked up when I ran through the downtown as I recalled fond memories.  It was bittersweet because I could feel his pride beaming down on me and could only imagine the smile he would have had watching me cross the finish line.  This year I hope to be selected to run the NYC marathon in his honor.

I often tell the story of him heading out to drive a NYC transit bus in the wee hours of the morning to take the runners over to Staten Island to the starting line.  He would come home after the marathon and load the dining table with bananas, apples, bagels and foil blankets and ask my sister and I if we wanted them with a smile in his voice and in his eyes.  I never knew what to do with the foil blankets, so I'd run around the apartment draped in it like a superhero.  One year he brought home Fred Lebow style caps for us, and I thought..."eww".  If only I had known the legend that Fred Lebow would become.  I realize now that my dad ignited the love for running in me and it would become a dream realized to honor him. 

So, in short, I wanted to come home to where it all began, and to join the 2015 Strides for Hope Half Marathon team.

My name is Erin Fulton and I am training for the 2015 St. Luke's Half Marathon with the Strides for Hope Team. This will be my first half marathon. Although I love running, I knew I needed to make a commitment to a good cause as a way to keep me focused on reaching my goal. Cancer has affected so many people I know and care about, from coworkers to friends and family. Strides for Hope seemed like the perfect way for me to contribute to the local Cancer Support Community. A little bit about me: I got started with running through the First Strides Program a few years back and got hooked on the sport! I'm also an animal lover who enjoys the outdoors.

My name is Heman Patel, and this is the third year that I am running for Strides for Hope. I have lived in the U.S, for the past 23 years, and operate two businesses: East Penn Business Machines and East Penn Imaging. I live in Bethlehem Township with my wife and three children. My hobbies include playing Bollywood music on the keyboard, playing the African Djembe drum, photography, flying, and arts and crafts.

I decided to run this year in order to help the Cancer Support Community, for which I do printing, as well as to get into good shape.


Hello everyone my name is Anthony W. Pawlowski and you can call me Tony or Anthony. I am happy you are interested in learning more about the runners involved in this event. So I guess you want to learn a little more about me.

Well let’s see. I graduated form Whitehall High School in 1998.  Did 3-years in the full time military, followed by 6 in the PA Army National Guard. Within that time I attended Kutztown University and graduated in the spring of 2007 with a BFA in Communication Design. Since getting out of the military I’ve been looking for a good excuse to stay in shape, for I’ve been in and out of the gym since getting out. My one uncle is in his 60’s and has run in several full marathons, so I guess he proved to me it’s possible.

I have many motivations for being involved in this event. The first two are to get in great shape and help a great cause at the same time. My grandfather on my mom’s side died of cancer when I was very little and I dedicate this run to him. Lastly I look forward to meeting kind and giving people on this team as well as people involved with this event. I wish everyone well and look forward to future events with this team and running in other events with the people involved.

My name is Jacqueline Parker; I am currently training for the St. Luke’s 1/2 Marathon and 5K on April 28th with the “Strides for Hope” team.

My Dad was diagnosed with cancer of the small intestine. The doctors tried to remove the cancer, but it was too far along and gave him six months to live. Needless to say, that was very long and hard six months for him as well as for our family. He passed away in 1994.

His sister Mary passed away from stomach cancer in 1981 and his sister Helen passed away in 1992 from pancreas cancer.

My Mom is a survivor of Breast Cancer since 2005. I also had several family and friends pass away and survive: Breast Cancer, Double Breast Cancer, Leukemia, Colon Cancer, Skin Cancer, Head Cancer, Uterine Cancer and Throat Cancer. My girl-friends daughter Jessica passed away from Brain Tumor in 1996. (A month after she graduated from High School.) In 2013 the most recent was when my cousin had just notified me he had just finished treatments for Tonsil Cancer. My beloved grand-cat “Pepper” also passed away from cancer in 2012; he had to endure the same treatments as humans. So you can see that I am running for a lot of family and friends, including pets. I just wish I could have done more for them.

In 1999 I had an Acoustic Neuronal Brain Tumor removed, which was not cancer. But the surgery caused me to lose my hearing on one side and I have Bells Palsy in my one eye. I had to endure electric shocks to try to simulate the nerves in my paralyzed face. After my surgery, I knew that I had to do something to make my life worthwhile, since God gave me a second chance.

It took me 10 years, but I finally pulled myself together and started running in 2009. I heard about the Cancer Support Community when I ran my first St. Luke’s Half Marathon in 2011. I also ran the 5K in 2012. This is really my first year with the “Strides for Hope” team. So I plan to collect as many donations as possible. With my family history, I know it is a constant uphill battle for those patients and families. We all could use positive attitude and encouragement in life when we are down due to some unforeseen reason that we cannot control ourselves.

Those hills I run are very small compared to the pain and uphill battles they have to endure. Whatever you do, never ever give up!!!

My name is Kara Cenni and I always hated running.  In 2012, a very dear friend and the caregiver of my children for 8 years was diagnosed with cancer.  After a very brave fight, so many loving family members and friends lost Lee in the summer of 2013.  It was during this time that I took to running; perhaps trying to find logic and sense at the end of each mile.

Shortly after Lee passed, my brother Keith was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer.  At age 45 and in otherwise great health, the news completely devastated our family.  He has had two brain surgeries as well as extensive treatment and rehabilitation.  He continues to beat cancer each day the same way he lives his life; with a steadfast resolve while putting his wife, Karen and family first.

Most recently, my mother-in-law, Linda was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and has begun her treatments.  She and her husband Jim are now facing this dreaded disease together as he copes with prostate cancer.  

In less than 3 years, as this awful disease pervaded our family, the running wasn’t nearly enough.  Even though I will never find any logic or sense behind the diagnoses of four of the most caring and gentle people I have known, I found a soft place to fall.  I found the Cancer Support Community.  

When I learned of the Strides of Hope opportunity, I realized this was the only way I could even think about running a half marathon.  I run for Lee.  I run for Keith.  I run for Linda.  I run for Jim.  I am running a half marathon for the Cancer Support Community.


Strides for Hope 2015 event Sponsors










Hunterdon County



Berger Sanitation, Inc

Chrin of Delaware

Horwith Trucks Inc.

H.T. Lyons Contractors
and Engineers

Leading Edge Martial Arts
TransBridge Lines, Inc