R-FH runners show their sensitive side

Rumson juniors compete ‘for a good cause’

By Brad Stratton
Staff Writer

IT’S a typical day for two Rumson-Fair Haven girls. Do homework. Socialize with friends. Fight leukemia.

Rumson-Fair Haven juniors Caitlin Moscatello and Jenni Krystopowitz are spending their free time running for a cause. Both are volunteer distance runners for Team in Training, an organization that seeks volunteers to raise money for leukemia and lymphoma research and support by training and competing in an endurance running event.

“I think it’s great to be able to use my training for a good cause,” Moscatello said. “It’s an unique opportunity.”

For Moscatello and Krystopowitz, that endurance run is the Suzuki Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon on June 3 in San Diego. The two will begin running the 26.2-mile course at 6:45 a.m. PST (9:45 a.m. EST).

While many of us cringe at the thought of running 26 miles, Moscatello and Krystopowitz expect to be prepared. After all, the two girls run 20 miles every Sunday.

Rarely running the same route, the girls have run through Red Bank, Middletown, Highlands and Holmdel, among other towns.

“We basically run all over Monmouth County,” Moscatello said.

Just seven months ago, Moscatello and Krystopowitz were just your typical track athletes. The two were on the Bulldogs’ cross country team and helped the school placed fourth in the Group II championships on Nov. 11.

But a few weeks before Rumson’s fourth-place showing, Krystopowitz got a letter from Team in Training.

“I got a brochure from (Team in Training) and it sounded interesting,” Krystopowitz said. “So I told Caitlin about it and we went to the meeting (in Red Bank), and we decided to get involved in the program.”

Intrigued by the letter, the girls attended a mid-October meeting in Red Bank. It didn’t take long for both to sign up for the cause.

However, this meant possibly sacrificing the winter and spring sports seasons. Moscatello would miss the indoor track season, while Krystopowitz would miss the lacrosse season. But it was a sacrifice they were willing to make.

“I’d go on a run and stop to watch some of the lacrosse game,” Krystopowitz said. “But this experience is much more worthwhile. I’m getting more out of this than I did with lacrosse.

“If I had to choose again for next year, I would do the marathon again.”

The runners are actively raising money for the cause. And despite having already raised the minimum requirement of $6,700, the donations continue to roll in.

Not that they’re complaining.

A division of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Team in Training calls for each team to support a patient ambassador, an individual who has been diagnosed with leukemia or lymphoma.

Moscatello’s and Krystopowitz’s ambassador is 8-year-old Ian Eiffron, of Cherry Hill. Ian was diagnosed with Lymphoblastic Lymphoma in 1998, but has been off chemotherapy since July 1999.

“It’s great people are raising money in (Ian’s) name,” said Abbe Eiffron, Ian’s mother. “It’s nice to see some good has come out of it.

“It was a little hard to explain to him (Ian) the concept, but he’s starting to get it. It makes him feel special.”

According to a representative from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Southern New Jersey, almost 80 percent of all proceeds from the Team in Training’s fund-raising will go directly to fight the diseases. The organization raised approximately $80 million last year.

According to a representative from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Southern New Jersey, approximately 640,000 Americans are living with one of the many variations of the diseases. and an estimated 60,000 Americans will die from their ailment this year.

As for Ian, his type affects 30 percent of all childhood lymphoma cases. With proper treatment, the complete remission rate for children can be as high as 96 percent, according to a report by the Lymphoma Information Network (www.lymphomainfo.net).

Meanwhile, with the the Rock ‘n’ Rock Marathon only a month away, one of the girls is taking on some extra training. Moscatello has joined the Rumson girls outdoor track team on a part-time basis, at the request of Bulldogs’ coach Dan Loughran.

“(Moscatello) is a very sensitive person, and she cares about people,” Loughran said. “And if she feels this is the best way to do that, than it’s a good thing.

“(Moscatello and Krystopowitz) are both leaders, and they will probably be captains for the cross country season. And if they can run 26 miles, then running three miles should be no problem.”

Asbury Park Press (Red Bank Reporter) – May 3, 2001