Birchwood honors Kitty Kelly with 5K run on Oct. 13

More than 125 participants raise funds to benefit pancreatic cancer research

View a video highlighting the Birchwood Cares 5K

Throughout her nearly two decades as an educator in Niskayuna, Kitty Kelly was always there when a colleague or a family needed help. After she lost her battle to pancreatic cancer last fall, “we just knew we needed to do something to come together as a community and honor her,” said Deb Berndt, principal of Birchwood Elementary School, where Kelly was a speech pathologist.

So, on Saturday, Oct. 13, the school came together for the “Birchwood Cares 5K” to benefit the Lustgarden Foundation, which focuses on research related to the diagnosis, treatment, cure and prevention of pancreatic cancer. The run was organized by the school and the Birchwood PTO.

More than 125 runners and walkers, including 25 students, participated and more than $2,500 was raised through donations and race fees.

Principal Berndt, 16 Birchwood staff members and several members of Kelly’s family, including two sons from the New York City area, participated. The Kelly family was at the front of the line when runners departed from the school. The route went through the Birchwood neighborhood.

Organizers coordinated with the towns of Niskayuna and local police and fire officials.

The race was followed by a half mile fun run for kids in the back of the school, anticipated shortly after 10 a.m. The PTO provided refreshments and water.

All participants received a “Birchwood Cares 5K” t-shirt.