Purple Stride Philly Raises Thousands to Defeat Pancreatic Cancer

It’s hard to believe it’s been exactly one year to the day since our dear friend and coworker Nadine Lubarsky passed away from pancreatic cancer. She is missed every day by her family and friends, and the many coworkers and clients at SofterWare who became her friend. Many of us got together today to honor her memory and raise money to bring an end to pancreatic cancer. It was the 2016 PurpleStride Philadelphia race and walk, which at the time of this writing, raised $697,214! Our team, Love for Nadine, raised $10,861, surpassing our $10,000 goal!

It was the crack of dawn and cold, and I forgot my Elmo jumper. I was so jealous of Nadine's grandson.

It was the crack of dawn and cold, and I forgot my Elmo jumper. I was so jealous of Nadine’s grandson.

I met up with Fast Sammy Stortz, who scooted over to the starting line (he was running). I then walked over to the “Love for Nadine” team for the annual group picture. Her friends and entire family were there, including her beloved grandson who came dressed as Elmo!

The annual group portrait. I'm the cut off guy on the right, but don't worry, I'm all right - (get it? - ALL right?) Nevermind.

The annual group portrait. I’m the cut off guy on the right, but don’t worry, I’m all right – (get it? – ALL right?) Nevermind.

I then ran up to the starting line to capture Sam beginning the race. This was his second race in 12 hours. The night before he won a race against current members of his old college racing team (take that young punks – our young punk kicked your butt!) After the runners took off, the walkers got started. By the time we walkers did one big loop that took us back to the start line before sending us into the park, Sam was 1 minute away from winning the race! He completed the 3-K in around 16 minutes! He said it was between him and one other guy at the 2 mile mark when Sam “dropped” him and took off running, crossing the finish line 20 seconds before any other runner! This is the second time in three years Sam won the whole race, and he came in second last year. We share the same name and work in the same department, but that’s where the similarities end. I can barely tie my shoes. After he won the race, he ran back around and met up with me, and found me breathing heavy from walking. He and I then fished the walk, and with his help I surpassed my time with a 1 hour 5 minutes finish time! Take that Usain Bolt!

Sam Stortz at the start of the race. I don't know how he won with that arrow over his head.

Sam Stortz at the start of the race. I don’t know how he won with that arrow over his head.

It was a beautiful brisk day, Nadine’s family and friends came out in force to show our love and honor her memory, we surpassed our fundraising goal, Sam won the race, and I didn’t collapse. Somewhere, Nadine is smiling.

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