The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation Race for Research: Tri-State 5K Walk/Run 5K on June 9 at New Canaan High School attracted more than 1,500 participants and raised more than $335,000.

The MMRF is a cancer research foundation dedicated to the acceleration of new treatments to extend the lives of patients and lead to a cure of multiple myeloma. Bobby Valentine, former Major League Baseball manager and now the executive director of Sacred Heart University Department of Athletics, made a special appearance to greet participants.

"It was an honor to meet the patients and family members that participated in the MMRF Race for Research: Tri-State 5K Walk/Run," said Valentine. "The community event provides an incredible opportunity to truly make a difference in the fight against this cancer."

At the race, the MMRF presented the inaugural MMRF Community Champion Award to New Canaan residents Dan and Elisabeth Mulhern, owners of M Milestones, a stationary and gift shop located on Forest Avenue in New Canaan. Since the first race in 2004, the Mulherns have gathered their family members and M Milestones employees to form Team Milestones. The Mulherns also encourage their customers and all members of the community who cannot attend the actual race to join Team Milestones as "virtual walkers" by registering at the M Milestones store. On race day, the Team Milestones tent was decorated with the names of all their virtual walkers supporting the race.

"Elisabeth and I are committed to supporting the MMRF because we have seen how the money raised by the MMRF goes directly to cancer research that has led to the FDA approval of six new drugs in the last 10 years," said Dan Mulhern. "Kathy Giusti is a dear friend and we are truly inspired by her drive and passion to find a cure."

A longtime member of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce, the MMRF also engaged local residents via the chamber's new "Healthy New Canaan" initiative. The MMRF had a table display at the chamber's recent "Healthy New Canaan Pop Up Park" on June 2. Attendees were able to learn about the organization's 5K program as well as the MMRF Endurance Events program, which offers entry to world class events like the New York Marathon.

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"We are all about connecting community with commerce," said Laura Budd, the marketing director for the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce. "When we can help our members coordinate with local businesses to support a great cause like the MMRF, it is a win-win."

The walk/run is an annual tradition for students and teachers alike from all New Canaan schools. South Elementary School annually fields a large team of teachers and also includes school principal Joanne Rocco and Superintendent of Schools Mary Kolek. Additionally, New Canaan High School's Rams football team, led by coach Lou Marinelli, has declared the MMRF as its official charity and had an impressive attendance for participation in the race.

"The Tri-State Race/Walk for Research is so very special to me and to my family in that it has its roots in our hometown," said Giusti, founder and CEO of the MMRF and a multiple myeloma patient. "I am gratified and humbled by the record number of MMRF supporters that join together each year at this amazing event in the fight against cancer."

Upcoming MMRF events in the tri-state area include the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 3, for which the MMRF is currently filling a team of 100 runners. Additionally, the MMRF Fall Gala will be held on Nov. 9 at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich in Old Greenwich.

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