2012-06-22 / Community

Twilight 5K was personal for many runners

By Jack Flagler
Staff Writer


Molly Hagerman approaches the finish line of the Twilight 5K in South Portland on Thursday, June 14. Hagerman and friends ran as “Team TDH” in remembrance of Hagerman’s late husband Timothy, who died after a battle with cancer of unknown origins. (Jack Flagler photos) Molly Hagerman approaches the finish line of the Twilight 5K in South Portland on Thursday, June 14. Hagerman and friends ran as “Team TDH” in remembrance of Hagerman’s late husband Timothy, who died after a battle with cancer of unknown origins. (Jack Flagler photos) Graduation can be a bittersweet event. Seniors celebrate their accomplishments of earning a diploma and finishing high school, while they have to say goodbye to family and friends as they prepare to leave for college.

For Kate Liziewski of Gray, “bittersweet” doesn’t come close to describing what she has been through in the last two months.

Liziewski graduated from Catherine McAuley High School in Portland on June 3 as the valedictorian of the class of 2012. She was a member of National Honor Society and participated on both the Mock Trial and varsity basketball teams. In the fall, she will attend Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass., where she will study engineering.

Weeks before graduation, Liziewski learned that her father had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Dan Liziewski works as the captain of the “Sunshine State,” an oil tanker off the Gulf Coast in Florida.

Kate Liziewski and a group comprised of about 15 of her McAuley classmates, friends and their families, wore purple Tshirts with “We Love Captain Dan” drawn on the front and “Liziewski” emblazoned on the back at Bug Light Park in South Portland on the evening of Thursday, June 14. The group was there to run in the Twilight 5K race put on by the Maine Cancer Foundation to fund cancer research in Maine.

Colleen Dipierro, a fellow McAuley parent from South Portland, said Dan Liziewski “has been a huge integral part of the whole school – at parents club, making spaghetti suppers, he’s key over there.”

Kate Liziewski’s friends and fellow 2012 classmates, Christina Leake and Taxia Arabatzis, spearheaded the effort to put the team together to run at the Twilight 5K.

“We just decided that we really wanted to do something to support our friend and her family. So we talked to our class, the senior class, and they all backed it, and we just kind of ran with it,” Leake said.

“We Love Captain Dan” bright purple shirts and Dipierro’s matching purple wig made the group easy to spot in the crowd of 750 runners, but they weren’t the only team that stood out.

Another team wore matching white tank tops with a green shamrock logo that read “Team TDH.” Molly Hagerman, who grew up off Anthoine Street in South Portland, organized the team in remembrance of her husband, Timothy, who died at the age of 26 in December from cancer of unspecified origins.

Hagerman said she wanted to find a way to give back to the people at Maine Cancer Foundation, as well as the doctors and nurses at Maine Medical Center who helped her and her husband through his illness. The run was a good way for her to do that.

“I kind of just wanted to do something and bring my friends together in a happy kind of motivated, excited way . . ., and they all rallied around it,” Hagerman said.

She chose the shamrock logo because of her Irish heritage, and because her husband was a huge Boston Celtics fan.

“The passion of all these individuals is just amazing,” said Tania Hill, executive director of Maine Cancer Foundation.

This year, Hill said the Twilight 5K raised more than $100,000, about four times more than the previous year’s event. This is the first year the race allowed men to participate, which Hill said is the reason for the spike in the amount raised.

The Maine Cancer Foundation raises money through a number of differenteventsthroughout the year. All money goes toward funding cancer research in the state of Maine.

“We impact thousands and thousands of lives, and we do it because people like this come out and raise funds for us and support us. So they’re able to touch those thousands of lives by helping people who are fighting, and also people who have never had a cancer diagnosis, who are learning about lifestyle changes, and screening, and funding this amazing research that’s happening in the state,” Hill said.

The Maine Cancer Foundation is now busy preparing for its next event. At the Tri for a Cure on July 29, about 650 women will swim onethird of a mile from the beach near Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse, then bike 15 miles through portions of South Portland and Cape Elizabeth, and run 3.1 miles from Spring Point to Bug Light. Race Director Julie Marchese said she expects the event to raise more than $1 million for the Maine Cancer Foundation.

Staff Writer Jack Flagler can be reached at 282- 4337 ext. 219.

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