– Allison Goldsberry
Kelly Sheehan Catallo, a member of the Medford Kiwanis and a long-time community volunteer, has literally organized over 100 fundraisers, everything from raffles to dinners to comedy shows to bike runs. Catallo, a former high school runner, has never organized a road race, but that’s exactly what she’ll be doing for “Running of the Leprechauns” in March.
It all started when her ten-year-old son asked her while she was “knee deep” in organizing the Kiwanis popular Taste of Italy fundraiser if she would do a fundraiser for him. Catallo told him she would do a fundraiser to help the people who had helped him at Boston Childrens Hospital.
Catallo said she is grateful for the care and attention her son received from Children’s Hospital, and that he is now “living a normal childhood complete with hockey and karate and all the mischief a little boy gets into.”
“My son is very ‘in-tune’ with the world around us. He knows how lucky he is when he looks around the hospital at so many children so much sicker than he [is],” said Catallo. “On a trip to the hospital for a treatment, my son got very quiet and asked ‘Do you ever wonder why we are all here?’ No mother expects a 10-year-old to ask that question and yes it did break my heart, but instead of finding tragedy in it, I decided to give meaning to the answer.”
Catallo decided to organize a road race after talking to her friend Kelly Granara South, who has been involved with the Granara-Skerry road race for the past seven years. Granara South had been considering organizing a St. Patrick’s Day Brunch for Childrens Hospital, and the two decided to combine efforts.
“It’s quite amazing; many, many people are coming forward, all with a Boston Children’s Hospital story or connection,” said Catallo. “We are excited to bring a great community event to Medford as well as be able to raise money for Boston Children’s Hospital.”
The road race is taking place on March 15. It will begin at the Medford Elks, located at 19 Washington Street, at 10:30AM. Online registration is available on active.com. Registration forms, brunch tickets, and more information are also available at Catallo’s real estate office at 23 Salem Street in Medford Square.
The event is also open to walkers. Cash prizes are available for top runners, who of course must be wearing green. The brunch is taking place at the Elks after the road race.
In addition to planning the “Running of the Leprechauns,” Catallo also founded an organization intended to be a source of volunteers for various causes.
“After 20 years of community based fundraising, knowing people want to be a part of something, [knowing] they want to come together to help one another, they want to feel good about what they do, I created Foundation of Friends…to help them achieve that goal!” Said Catallo in an email. “I endeavor to bring people together to help when they want to help, to do what they want to do, and to walk away feeling spiritually fulfilled.”
Anyone interested in helping with the road race can contact Catallo at 339-221-5412. Catallo said helpful gestures include putting up posters, sending out information, registering to run or walk, buying a brunch ticket, volunteering on the day of the event, or even simply cheering for runners and walkers along the route.