Brilliant sunshine bathed the 8th annual Thomas Cutinella Memorial Patriot Run that featured more the 700 runners Sunday morning, Oct. 22, at Wildwood State Park in Wading River sponsored by the Wildcat Athletic Club. Proceeds for the event benefit the Thomas Cutinella Memorial Foundation whose mission is threefold by funding scholarships to those area students who best exemplify Thomas’ ideals, promoting organ donation awareness and creating football safety protocols and their implementation statewide under the Tommy Tough initiative.
Thomas succumbed to his injuries sustained on the football field in a Shoreham-Wading River varsity football game at John Glenn High School Oct. 1, 2014. Thomas was a big believer in giving life through organ donation and then the next day, he did just that.
Nine years ago, Karen Crowell, a Bronx woman in her early 20s, was gravely ill on a transplant waiting list desperately needing a new heart. Crowell got a second chance receiving Thomas’ transplanted heart for a new lease on life. A few years after receiving the gift of life, Crowell and the Cutinella family became acquainted and have remained in touch to this day.
Two years ago, Crowell was blessed with the birth of her first child, something she thought she would never live to see but because of Thomas’ gift of life, she and her husband Cameron are now the proud parents of a baby girl, Colette.
For more information on the Thomas Cutinella Memorial Foundation visit www.tom54.org.
Photos by Bill Landon