Running with a mission

South Charlotte Weekly

One Mission spokesperson Rob Gronkowski visits patients and their families at Boston Children’s Hospital. Photo courtesy of Ameliaranne Sutton.

One Mission founders Ari and Ashley Haseotes. Photo courtesy of Ameliaranne Sutton.

South Charlotte resident finishes Boston Marathon while raising funds for pediatric cancer

Todd Stancombe, a resident of Piper Glen, said running all six major world marathons is on his bucket list and he’s two in already. Stancombe finished the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 20, with the memory of his father riding on his back.

“I got shirts printed with my father’s face on the back,” he said. “He was an amazing man and incredible influence on my life.”

Stancombe’s father, Blaine, died of brain cancer on Dec. 22, 2012. Stancombe said he remembers staying at the hospital with his parents and supporting them through chemotherapy and radiation. He witnessed first hand the emotional, physical and financial struggles faced by families of cancer patients.

“I was fortunate to have the means to help them, because it is challenging and it’s almost impossible to navigate this journey,” he said.

Stancombe wasn’t simply running the marathon to fulfill a personal goal or in remembrance of his father;, he also wanted to give back to families dealing with cancer. Stancombe partnered with One Mission, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit that focuses on providing for the immediate needs of children with cancer and their families. The organization has financial programs that fund basic needs, hospital bills and parking, as well as programs that benefit the socialization and education of children with cancer, their siblings and parents.

Stancombe said it was devastating going through cancer treatments with his father and he couldn’t fathom going through it with a child.

“It’s almost unimaginable to see it happen to your child,” he said.

Stancombe decided to apply to raise money on behalf of One Mission through Charity Teams after singing up to run in the Boston Marathon. Charity Teams is an organization that works to bridge smaller nonprofits with athletes to raise money for their causes. Charity Teams has connected 780 runners to various causes and raised more than $5.9 million dollars.

Ashley Haseotes, founder and president of One Mission, said she’s grateful for Todd and his teammates’ support.

“I am in awe of the dedication and perseverance our marathon runners endure to help us further our mission of helping kids get through cancer,” she said. “Along with my staff, I cheered Todd on from the sidelines, and was so thrilled for him when he finished the course.”

Stancombe and his three team members raised more than $100,000 for One Mission in conjunction with the Boston Marathon. Stancombe raised $11,800.

She said the money raised will help One Mission decorate hospital rooms of children fighting cancer, provide catered meals for the families and contribute much needed financial support.

Stancombe said he received an overwhelming amount of support before and during the race.

“People lined the entire course, braving the cold, rainy weather to cheer on strangers,” he said.

Right before leaving the bus to start the race, he said Susan Hurley, founder of Charity Teams, informed them that Boston Marathon runners had raised $2.7 million dollars for nonprofits.

Stancombe said the camaraderie was palpable.

“The city came out in mass, symbolically, in support of the city and in remembrance of the bombings,” he said.

Beyond the crowd, what truly kept Stancombe going was the memory of his father.

“I could feel him there with me … Finishing is an emotional experience for me, because I am doing it for him.”

Stancombe said his father loved children and taught him the meaning of service.

“My dad was major influence on me to help others. I always remember him helping people, especially children. He loved children.”

Stancombe’s next race will take place in October, where he’ll be running the Chicago Marathon to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. The cause also is personal to Stancombe because he suffers from MS.

Visit http://www.crowdrise.com/onemissionboston2015/fundraiser/toddstancombe to make donations to One Mission on behalf of Todd Stancombe.

Visit http://www.onemission.org to find out more about One Mission.

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