Haddonfield resident runs with sisters in Boston Marathon for cancer research

Cancer, unfortunately, seems to touch the lives of everyone in some way. Haddonfield resident Kristin Cordova, along with her sisters Kelly Pietrucha of Haddon Heights and Kathryn Stewart of Arlington, Mass., are doing their part to help find a cure and stop cancer’s tragic effects to families in honor of their late father, William “Pete” Lundgren of Haddonfield, who passed away from brain cancer.

Cordova and her sisters will run together, along with hundreds of others, to conquer cancer as members of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team in the 119th Boston Marathon on April 20.

“We decided last summer we would try to apply to the run. Our dad passed away in September of 2013. He was treated at Dana-Farber, and we thought this would be a good way that we would give back and raise money for cancer research,” Cordova said.

Cordova, along with nearly 575 Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge teammates from around the world, will run Massachusetts’ historic marathon route from Hopkinton to Boston with a goal to raise $5.2 million for cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Challenge runners include cancer survivors and patients, and family and friends of those who have been affected by cancer. Runners of all abilities participate with the goal to help put an end to cancer.

Cordova started running with her girlfriends about six years ago, mostly to keep in shape. This will be Cordova’s second marathon, having done one before in Philadelphia. She has also completed a few other shorter-distance races. She wasn’t planning on doing another marathon, but this seemed like the right opportunity to do something with her sisters, in honor of her father.

“Having gone through what we did and experiencing the loss, we wanted to do something positive and do it together as a family. We have a lot of family and friends who would support us. We felt it was a good opportunity to raise the money for a good cause and make advancements in cancer research and treatments so people won’t have to suffer what our dad went through,” Cordova said.

Cordova’s personal goals for the marathon are to feel good while running and try to get a good time. However, her biggest goal is to raise money for cancer research.

“I want to feel good while running. It will be something special to be there with my sisters, family watching, and other members running for the same reason, either someone who has passed away or is still fighting cancer. I put my time in training, so I would like to run well and get what I consider a good time. But, ultimately, it’s about raising money, and I feel good about that and the contribution we’ll make to Dana-Farber,” Cordova said.

As of April 1, the sisters, calling themselves Gren’s Girls, have raised $26,657 for the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge. Their goal is $30,000.

“If you’re able to support us in our efforts any way, we would be truly grateful,” Cordova said.

All money raised by the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team funds Dana-Farber’s Claudia Adams Barr Program in innovative basic cancer research. The Barr Program supports uniquely promising science research in its earliest stages, providing researchers with critical resources to test their leading-edge ideas. Findings from Barr Program research can provide the results necessary to seek federal funding, as it doesn’t receive any, as well as novel clinical insights.

Since its inception in 1990, the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge has raised more than $69 million for the Barr Program. Dana-Farber trustees J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver founded the Barr Program in 1987 to honor Delores’ mother, Claudia Adams Barr, who lost her battle with cancer 30 years earlier.

To donate to Gren’s Girls and their mission to help in the fight against cancer, individuals or families can either write a check to DFMC and send it to Kristin Cordova, 760 Mount Vernon Ave., Haddonfield, N.J. 08033 or donate online at www.rundfmc.org/2015/grensgirls.