Dad’s run to aid son’s cancer fight
By Janie Rosman • Review Press Express • October 9, 2008
Six-year-old Elias Dubé was enjoying his Saturday pool time at the YMCA in White Plains.
The active youngster learned to swim last summer, takes Chinese language lessons on Sunday afternoons and carries a backpack to first grade at Waverly School in Eastchester.
Elias Dubé is also a neuroblastoma survivor.
"When Elias was 2 and in the thick of chemo, the family never imagined it would be talking about his first-grade teacher," said his mom, Bonnie MacKellar. "Needless to say, we are all incredibly happy."
Next month, Elias's father, Tom Dubé, will run with Fred's Team in the ING New York City Marathon on behalf of his son to raise money for critical cancer research.
"He has been training a lot. This is a really big deal for him," MacKellar said.
The 800-member team wears signature orange-and-purple uniforms to travel the five boroughs raising money for cancer research.
"It (the team) is quite a presence in the marathon," said Dubé, who last ran the 26.2-mile course in 2006. "I'm hoping to raise $5,000 this time."
With the big one less than a month away he puts every moment to use.
"I've been doing all of my really long runs (18 and more miles) in the evening from home," said Dubé.
During the weekends he chalks up extra miles, and during shorter runs he pushes a two-seat jogging stroller.
"Our 2-year-old daughter Naomi always wants to ride in it," he said. "Elias sometimes rides, too. He is getting too big for it, but he still enjoys it."
Dubé has been running in marathons for more than 20 years and also has raced shorter distances.
"I ran nine (marathons) between 1987 and 1998," he said. "My training dropped off drastically after our children were born."
When his younger son was diagnosed with cancer in December 2003, "there was no time for anything," he said.
Elias had stage 4 neuroblastoma, which carries a 30 percent national survival rate for high-risk cases. He began treatment at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center that Christmas Eve under the care of Brian Kushner, chief clinical oncologist on the neuroblastoma team.
A silver lining to this dark cloud was their shared commonality -marathons.
"He was the main physician directing Elias' treatment so we met often," Dubé said. "Occasionally, we would talk running, and I found that he runs every year for Fred's Team (in the New York City Marathon)."
Running legend and former Sloan-Kettering patient Fred Lebow co-founded the world's largest race in 1970 and partnered with Sloan-Kettering in 1991 when, during treatment there, he was inspired by pediatric patients' reactions as he jogged up and down the halls.
In 1992 Lebow completed his first marathon and encouraged friends and relatives to sponsor their runs for Sloan-Kettering and cancer research. He died in October 1994.
Since its inception, Fred's Team has raised more than $32 million and has expanded internationally. Money benefits the Aubrey Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research at Sloan-Kettering although sponsors can designate their money to any area of research.
Malachi Dubé is proud of his dad for running.
"It's good because it will help more kids be like Elias," Malachi said.
"His meaning was, 'It would help more kids become survivors,' " Tom Dubé said.
In May, the third-grader walked 4.5 miles in Central Park during the eighth annual Kids Walk for Kids with Cancer, which also benefits Sloan-Kettering.
"The walk was great. I raised $365," Malachi said.
Call 800-876-7522 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for information about Fred's Team.
Also, go and check the segment done on Anna O Connor