5K race dedicated to blood cancer victims

COURTESY PHOTO | Single mother Liz Toy of Cutchogue is one of the local honorees for the first Our Moms 5K event Saturday.

Mother’s Day is made for women like 29-year-old Cutchogue resident Elizabeth Toy. The committed single mother works long hours while balancing soccer practice to give her 11-year-old son, Matthew, every opportunity she can, while she can.

Ms. Toy is in the midst of the battle for her life. Suffering from Stage IV Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Ms. Toy says Mother’s Day has taken on a new meaning.

“This is a special time of year for mothers,” she said. “Everything I do is for my son. He knows what can happen if things go wrong. I will go to the end of the Earth to make sure my family has a future.”

Ms. Toy’s was diagnosed at 26 with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type blood cancer that erodes the lymphatic system. As the disease progresses it compromises the body’s ability to fight infection, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The first Our Moms 5K race to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society will be held in Cutchogue Saturday to honor mothers like Ms. Toy and their families affected by blood cancer.

This year’s event highlights the stories of three local moms who’ve had their lives impacted by blood cancer, including Ms. Toy.

Karen Haas of Cutchogue, whose son is recovering from a blood cancer, and Susan Becker of Mattituck, who is currently hospitalized awaiting a live-saving procedure, are also being honored.

“We need these women to inspire,” event organizer Danielle Fogarty said. “They are our neighbors and they are the face of cancer.”

Ms. Fogarty’s efforts have inspired the creation of numerous local charity events to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, but this is the first road race she’s spearheaded. More than 100 people had pre-registered a few days before the race, she said.  Ms. Fogarty said she hopes the race will become an annual event.

The 5K walk/run starts at 8:45 a.m. at the Cutchogue Fire Department. The pre-registration fee is $25. The fee is $30 on the day of the race. For the kids, a children’s 400-meter dash will begin at 8:30 a.m. Prizes will be awarded to the top two male and female winners.

All proceeds benefit the Long Island Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

During her three-year battle, Ms. Toy has endured aggressive chemotherapy, experimental stem cell treatment and a failed bone marrow transplant. In the interim, Ms. Toy lives day-to-day, awaiting a second bone marrow transplant.

While juggling motherhood she fears for the future of her family’s finances.

“I am in need of more than just prayers,” she said. “I need help to get through this transplant and still have a clean, safe apartment to come home to for myself and my 11-year-old son.”

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