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Daughter honors fallen mother with annual 5K

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

WESTFIELD Debbie Callahan wants to ensure that her mother's suffering was not in vain.

Over the past six years, Callahan, with the help of her friends and family have raised over $75,000 for the Alzheimer's Association in honor of her mother Mary A. Callahan, who lost her battle with Alzheimer's in January 2007.

On Sept. 27, Callahan is inviting all those in the region and beyond to participate in the second annual Mary A. Callahan 5K walk or run in Stanley Park. All funds raised at the 5K will be donated to the Alzheimer's Association, for research to find a cure.

"I'm trying to [help] find a cure before anybody else in my family gets it [Alzheimer's]," Callahan said in an interview with Reminder Publications. "I don't want to have to watch anyone suffer like that [my mother]."

She said her mother was diagnosed seven years before her death at the age of 69. Callahan explained that she often cared for her mother, helping her get dressed and perform other various daily activities.

In 2002, she formed Team Callahan to help raise funds for Alzheimer's research and to participate in the Alzheimer's Association's annual Memory Walk in Stanley Park. The Mary A. Callahan 5K was inspired by her work in the Memory Walk.

Callahan noted that last year's 5K raised approximately $3,500 for the Alzheimer's Association and 60 runners participated. Callahan said over 40 people have already pre-registered for this year's event.

Kathy Limoges, member of Team Callahan, noted that unlike last year the 2008 Mary A. Callahan 5K is without a sponsor.

Callahan said she sent out over 60 letters to various businesses and has yet to receive any sponsorship.

Limoges noted that she is also looking for volunteers on the day of the event.

Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the race will begin at 10 a.m. There is a race fee of $20 on the day of the event or $15 for all those who pre-register. Those who wish to pre-register can call 572-1417 to register by phone or go to to register online.

The first 100 to register for the 5K will receive a free T-shirt.

Seventeen prizes in various categories will also be awarded on the day of the race. The top male and female runner will receive a Citizen Eco-drive watch valued at $375. Top walkers will receive prizes.

For more information about Team Callahan go to

For more information about the Alzheimer's Association go to