In honor of former Gov. Paul Cellucci’s commitment to fund ALS research at UMass Medical School and his lifelong dedication to public service, the inaugural Governor Cellucci Tribute Road Race will be run on Saturday, August 2, in his hometown of Hudson, according to his wife Jan Cellucci.
“My daughters Kate and Anne, Paul’s goddaughter Cathy Cellucci Scott, and I together developed the idea of this road race to continue Paul’s campaign for the UMass ALS Cellucci Fund, but in a fun, new way,” said Mrs. Cellucci. “Our family’s goal for this event is also to remember and to celebrate the deep sense of honor Paul felt in being given the opportunity to serve the citizens of Hudson, our commonwealth, and our nation for 35 years.”
Gov. Cellucci created the fund soon after he was diagnosed with ALS. The goal of the fund is to establish an endowment to seed the boldest research ideas in the interdisciplinary laboratories at UMMS under the direction of Robert H. Brown Jr., DPhil, MD, Gov. Cellucci’s physician and one of the world’s foremost authorities on ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease).
Dr. Brown, the Leo P. and Theresa M. LaChance Chair in Medical Research and chair and professor of neurology, continues to make seminal discoveries in identifying gene defects that may be targets for treatment in neuromuscular diseases, which include multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and ALS.
And in an important and immediate development in Brown’s research, the first Phase II clinical trial for safety and efficacy of an adult stem cell treatment for ALS in humans will soon be launched under Brown’s direction at UMMS and Massachusetts General Hospital, in partnership with BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics Inc.
“Establishing the Fund for Dr. Brown’s research was a vitally important focus for Paul in his last years,” Mrs. Cellucci said. “As Dr. Brown unlocks genetic treatments and coordinates clinical trials for ALS, the results of his research will hopefully cascade into therapies for other neurological diseases, such as MS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, benefitting so many, many patients and families around the world.”
Runners in this inaugural race will race through Hudson’s downtown Historic District, where the governor followed his grandfather and father into public service. The course will begin at the Hudson-Concord Elks Club, where for many years Paul’s father coordinated the annual Cellucci Family Picnic, and will pass directly in front of the Hudson Town Hall, where the governor began his career in public service as a Hudson selectman.
Each race finisher will receive a unique engraved medal as a commemoration of their participation in the inaugural race. Jan Cellucci characterized the medal as a symbol of the race. “It is being designed to symbolize the dignity and honor of public service and a commitment to UMass Medical School and to finding a cure for ALS,” she said.
“The race has a serious purpose but it’s going to be fun, especially fun for my four grandchildren, bringing together our family, friends, Paul’s colleagues and longtime supporters, and a host of new friends, avid 5K runners from across New England. And, as importantly, the race will bring attention and funds to the groundbreaking ALS research underway at UMass Medical School,” said Mrs. Cellucci.
For more information and to register as an individual runner or as a race ambassador, titled in memory of Gov. Cellucci’s stint as the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, visit the Governor Cellucci Tribute Road Race website.
To learn more about the UMass ALS Cellucci Fund, visit the fund website.
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