Glow Run to assist local woman battling lymphoma

Bucalos

Things will be glowing on Saturday in Bainbridge’s General Clinton Park.

The Glow Run, a 1-mile walk and 5K run, will take place from 5 to 9 p.m. and include free children’s activities, information and food vendors, illuminated mascots, more than 70 basket raffles, music and a #cancerdancer group dance, livestreamed at 6 p.m.

Funds generated will benefit Glow Run founder Heather Bucalos, an Oneonta native and Bainbridge-Guilford Central School graduate.

Bucalos, 35, learned in June of this year that her Hodgkin lymphoma, initially detected in 2015, had returned.

Bucalos, a nurse, said she established the run to give back to her community and support fellow cancer patients.

“I started it when I was finishing chemo in 2015 and was actually still in the process of finalizing my remission status,” she said. “I had met this guy named Ken Long at a benefit and he and his wife told me his story and how he’d had brain cancer. At that point, I’d had two benefits and felt like I had a lot of support from my community — not just financially, but from people that cared about me and that is just as important, if not more. So, I thought I could combine a community event for (Ken Long) with a benefit, and that first one was for him. The community response has been great from the very beginning and very warming.”

Following Glow Runs, she said, helped cancer patients from Bainbridge and Oxford.

“It’s not just a benefit for one person,” Bucalos said. “It is a safe, fun, family-oriented community event that doesn’t exclude anybody; it’s for every ability level and every age.”

Bucalos credited a four-person committee of friends with bringing this year’s event to fruition.

“I was offered a job in Florida the week before I was diagnosed and I had always wanted to move down there,” she said. “I’d gotten my nursing license and was ready to go, then the next week I went into the walk-in clinic … and they found this new tumor. It had relapsed. It was stage 1 last time, and now it’s stage 2.”

“I wasn’t planning on doing a Glow Run,” she said. “It’s a lot of work, but when I told my friends what was going on … and asked if they could handle doing it, they said, ‘Yes. This is happening.’”

Planning, she said, began in June, immediately after her diagnosis was confirmed.

Sarah Gifford, a Bainbridge native and friend to Bucalos since third grade, said she welcomed the chance to help someone known for her altruism. Gifford organized Glow Run raffle baskets and coordinated volunteers.

“Heather has always been outgoing, selfless and lights up the room with her personality,” Gifford said. “Despite what she is going through, she is always thinking of how she can help others. Heather would help anyone in need, so this is a great opportunity to give back to her.”

On Monday, Bucalos said, about 200 individuals had registered for Saturday’s Glow Run. Participants are encouraged to wear their brightest, neon-hued gear.

Online registration, at bainbridgeglowrun.com, closes at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Bucalos said, with a limited number of day-of slots available. The online registration fee is $10 for the 1-mile run/walk and $12 for the 5K or $15 for either on Saturday.

Funds raised, Bucalos said, will facilitate the logistical aspects of her upcoming treatment.

“I am not working right now … and I’m probably going to Buffalo or New York City for (in-patient) treatment,” she said, “so my biggest expenses are food, lodging and transportation.”

“Last year we made $5,400 and we always make about $1,000 more each year than the previous,” Bucalos said. “Our overall goal is $5,000.”

For more information or to register, visit bainbridgeglowrun.com or find “Bainbridge Glow Fun Run/Walk Cancer Benefit for Heather Bucalos” on Facebook.

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