In it’s Sixth Year: Greta’s Run Continues to Raise Funds for Those with Adaptive Needs Westfield, NJ

In its sixth year of raising funds for people with adaptive needs who want to participate in sports, an enthusiastic group of runners, walkers, or those who roll, participated in Greta’s Run which was held on Sunday, April 28 at Roosevelt Intermediate School in Westfield.

The 5K Run is named after Greta Schoenemann, a freshman at Westfield High School who died from injuries sustained on the first anniversary of 9/11, when a tree fell on her during lunch. The run was established in 2013 by her friends Jayne Ruotolo and Ben Nanna, to continue the work of Greta. Greta’s sister Elise has cerebral palsy and all proceeds from the run will benefit those with special and adaptive needs.

This year’s event had more than 1000 participants and was held in conjunction with Westfield Public Schools. A new award category was added to this year’s awards – one for parents who participate with their young children in a stroller. Since this race is for those with adaptive needs, there is an award category for the top three overall non-motorized wheelchair/hand-cycle. If enough athletes competed with a prosthesis, a top three category would be awarded in that category as well. Individuals of all abilities were welcome to compete and volunteer assistance was available throughout the course. This is a USTAF certified and sanctioned event, with clocks at each mile and each competitor is given a final time.

Greta’s Run is now the principal fundraiser for Greta’s Run Foundation, a volunteer-led, 501c3 nonprofit. Proceeds from the event will be given at the local level to the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), a nonprofit that provides physically challenged people with the tools needed to pursue active and healthy lifestyles. They support those who may be interested in competing in the Paralympics or someone who just wants to play tag with their grandkids. If an individual has the desire to pursue an active lifestyle, CAF is there to support them.

At the national level, proceeds from Greta’s Run will be given to The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation (CDRF), which is dedicated to improving the quality of life for individuals living with paralysis and for advancing innovative research to find improvement options for spinal cord injury. Their current research is supporting “The Big Idea” – an initiative to rapidly improve the quality of life for those with spinal cord injury by advancing epidural stimulation research from the lab to the community.

If you are interested in volunteering for next year’s Greta’s Run or seek more information about the organization, please contact Ben Nanna at

Article by: Blue Waterfall Films Staff -

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