First Sandy sMILES walk plannedPublished May 5, 2014 at 4:26 pm (Updated May 5, 2014 at 4:26 pm)
Robb Urbaniak, Kristen Petras, Bob Urbaniak, Sandy Urbaniak, Karin Galish and Kelly Wheeler around 2000. Sandy lost her battle with brain cancer in 2005, and daughter Karin organized the May 31 Sandy sMILES Memorial 5k and Family Fun Walk.
Urbaniak, a registered nurse at Jefferson Hospital, was only 58 year old when she died. With relatively no symptoms, Urbaniak was diagnosed with stage IV glioblastoma while she was at work the day after Mother’s Day in 2003, her daughter said. Urbaniak underwent chemotherapy and radiation and returned to relative normalcy until the tumor reoccurred about a year later. Again, she fought, but the aggressive cancer claimed her life less than a year later, Galish said.
“Mom was very healthy until the day she was diagnosed,” Galish said.
For a few years, she looked for a way to remember her mother in a more public forum. Two years ago, Galish participated in a Diva Half Marathon in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and raised more than $3,000 for the American Brain Tumor Association.
“It took awhile to find a way to honor her,” Galish said. “I wanted something our family could participate in.”
With Galish living in South Fayette and her father Robert Urbaniak living in Elizabeth, Galish said she selected South Park as the location to hold the first Sandy sMILES Memorial 5k and Family Fun Walk. The proceeds from the May 31 walk will benefit the ABTA.
Running has been a big part of the Urbaniak family, she said, including some of her three siblings running cross-country track in high school.
“(Her mother) was not a runner, but she never missed a meet,” Galish said.
The May 31 run and walk is family-friendly and Galish encourages those participating with small children to use a stroller or wagon.
The race will begin at the Harbor/Parcell/Ethelbert pavilions on Maple Springs Drive at 9 a.m. The cost for the 5k run is $25 if registered before May 17, and $35 if registered after May 17.
The family fun walk is a half mile along Corrigan Trail and a half mile back. The walk begins at 9:30 a.m. and is $40 for up to six participants if signed up before May 17, and $50 if registered after May 17. T-shirts will be handed out, but there is no guarantee of a T-shirt if registration occurs the day of the race, Galish said.
“May is brain cancer awareness month and we hope that we are able to spread awareness about brain cancer so we can raise money to fund critical cancer research,” Galish said. “If all goes well, fingers crossed, we will do it again next year.”
There is a Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/SandysMILESMemorialPage and a website with information about the race at http://runsignup.com/Race/PA/SouthPark/SandysMILESMemorial5K.
To contact Galish, call 412-221-0303 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations may be made to ABTA, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Suite 550, Chicago, Ill. 60631.