Close to 1,000 runners and walkers made their way to Sunrise Drive Elementary School on Saturday, June 19, to participate in the seventh-annual Dash for a Cure, a fundraiser for nine-year-old Sayville resident Dylan Kolar.
Dylan was diagnosed at the age of one with a rare bone marrow failure syndrome called Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome. This syndrome involves mainly the pancreas and bone marrow, but sometimes other organs may be affected as well. People with Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome have decreased ability to digest food containing fats and protein because the cells of the pancreas in which digestive enzymes are produced do not work properly. Additionally, patients' bone marrow does not function properly to make blood cells. This can leave the patients vulnerable to severe infections. They may also be anemic or have difficulty with blood clotting.
Within his first year, Dylan received eight blood transfusions and was hospitalized a number of times for infections secondary to bone marrow insufficiency. He is currently doing very well under the guidance of the doctors of Schneider Children's Hospital.
The Sayville community came out to support Dylan in full force. The Kolar family modeled the event to be more family oriented, with a DJ, a kids fun run, face painting, Italian ices and more. Eight members of the Kolar family, including Dylan's brother Kevin, cousins, aunts and uncles, also participated in the run. Kevin was joined by Brendon (10), Jake (11), Kathryn (9), Max (9) and Ty Kolar (6). Keith Kolar (33) placed first in his division, finishing the race in 19:07 as did Sandra Kolar (35), finishing in 19:53.
"Each year at this time, right before the race, it gives me a time to reflect on the past year," said Jennifer Kolar, Dylan's mom. "I come here and just look around and I can be in the moment. I can sit back and see what a support system I have here with my family, friends and community. I don't have to worry about doctor's appointments or what lies ahead – I just get to see all these people loving and supporting my son."
The overall winner of the event was 16-year-old Zachary Krause of Bohemia, finishing in 16:06. The overall female winner was Christina DeRosa (23) of Sound Beach in 18:06.
All of the proceeds of the event go to the Shwachman-Diamond Project to help with the research necessary to help Dylan and all the other children who are struggling with SDS.
The Shwachman-Diamond run was the second installment of the four-part Sayville Summer Series with the first event, the Keith Nintzel 5K,being held last week. The third event, the Race to Cure Cystic Fibrosis, will take place on Sunday, July 25 at the Long Island Maritime Museum in West Sayville. For more information, visit www.sayvillesummerseries.com.