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8th Annual 5K Shwachman Diamond Dash For a Cure - fundraisers - 6/22/2011
Shana Braff

The 8th Annual 5K Shwachman Diamond Dash for a Cure was held on Saturday, June 18 at Sunrise Drive Elementary School in Sayville, as part of the Sayville Summer Running Series. It wasn't just a run; it was a family-friendly event featuring face painting, refreshments, Sunny the Duck and the music of Hampton Sounds.

Last year over 1000 people came out for the 2010 Shwachman Diamond Dash, and the beautiful weather helped this year's run to be just about as successful with over 7000 registrants.

All proceeds from the event benefited the Shwachman-Diamond Project in honor of Dylan Egan Kolar, a lively 10-year-old living in Sayville who was diagnosed at the age of one with the rare bone marrow failure called Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome. In his first year, Dylan received eight blood transfusions, and was hospitalized several times for infections secondary to bone marrow insufficiency. He is currently thriving under the care of the doctors of Cohen Children's Hospital (formerly Schneider's.)

The Shwachman-Diamond Project's mission is to help find a cure for the little-known syndrome that has just over 400 documented cases worldwide.

Dylan won the 1K Kids Fun Run held prior to the race. "He was running track this year, so it came a little easier for him," said Dylan's father Kevin Kolar.

Prizes were awarded for the top three male and female runners. There was also an auction and raffle with over 25 awesome prizes such as a flat screen TV, and gift certificates donated by Sayville Running Company, Sayville General Store, Atlantis Marine World, and more. The Sayville Fire Department was on hand hosing down overheated runners after they crossed the finish line.

Dan Denis from Bayport, an employee at Sayville Running Company, came in first place with an impressive time of 15:35.

Tom and Penny Pendergast came out to show their support for the Kolars and for a cause near and dear to their hearts. Their daughter, Heather, had Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome from birth, and passed away in 2008 at the age of 31, after getting breast cancer and being unable to undergo treatment due to already having the syndrome. They started The Heather Pendergast Fund, in her memory, to assist the children of volunteer firefighters on Long Island who become stricken with a life-threatening illness. Tom is the ex-chief of the Massapequa Fire Department.

"[The Kolars], they're a super family," said Tom. "I'm amazed at the amount of people they get to come out ... It's a wonderful thing they do to raise money for a cure."

Dylan Kolar with his parents Kevin and Jennifer

Tom and Penny Pendergast

Tommy, Caroline and Katie Gozaloff

Contact the writer, Shana Braff:

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