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Kevin nears $300,000 target in wife’s memory

An American runner completed three legs of The Royal Gazette Bermuda Triangle Challenge in a bid to raise $300,000 for an international charity devoted to fighting childhood cancer.

Kevin Maloney, 55, ran to raise cash for the St Baldrick's Foundation in memory of his wife, Lisa, a supporter of the organisation who died of cancer four years ago.

Mr Maloney, a senior vice-president with Allied World Insurance in New York who has completed the challenge five times, said: “It's a labour of love.

“If it helps cure one child of cancer or even gives someone a better day, gives some kid a chance to go to Disney World with their parents, I'm happy.”

Mr Maloney was speaking after he and three friends crossed the finishing line of the PwC Bermuda Half-Marathon under the slogan #RunforLisa.

He completed the race with friend Mike Almskog, who works for insurance claims administration firm Envoy Specialty in New York, Matt Hansen, a Bermuda resident who works at Allied World's operation on the island and Ola Pyzik, who flew more than 3,700 miles from the company's San Francisco office to join in the fundraiser.

The group earlier ran the Butterfield Front Street Mile and the BF&M 10K.

Mr Maloney said: “My wife would be delighted — she wanted to help people with cancer and she loved kids.

“When she got cancer, she said ‘baby, we have got to do something'. It's always better to light a candle rather than sit and curse the darkness.”

Mr Maloney has already raised about $56,000 of this year's $75,000 target to add to the near $228,000 he has collected from previous challenges.

He said: “We hope to pass $300,000 within the next couple of weeks and it was all raised from the Triangle Challenge.”

Mr Maloney added: “I feel everybody on the island knows me and they love Lisa, even though they never met her. We will do this event until the day I die and we'll bring more people down every year.”

Mr Almskog, who donned a stars-and-stripes mankini to run the half-marathon, added: “I think people noticed it and it drew attention. I was looking a bit silly, but it was for something good.

“Hopefully, it has done something good. It was entertaining with Kevin, not tiring at all. I went at his pace and seeing everybody along the course and talking to them, it was very impressive and I'm pleased with the money made.”

Ms Pyzik said: “It is a wonderful cause ... Kevin's story is just amazing. He is such a loveable person — not only does he take care of people around him, he helps everyone.

“When I heard the story the first time, I had goosebumps and I feel honoured to have run with him.”

She had lagged behind her colleagues towards the end of the race, but found the reserves to put a sprint on so they could cross the finish line together.

Ms Pyzik, the Allied World head of marketing for the northwest region of the United States, said: “That's what it was about, everybody doing it collectively. I'm building a team in San Francisco, so hopefully next year there will be more of us.

Mr Hansen, originally from New Jersey and who has worked in Bermuda for two years, added: “Kevin said ‘run the race'. I said ‘no problem'. I was undertrained and underprepared and struggling with the hills, but I made it.

“Kevin is such a good guy. You couldn't say no to Kevin and it's a great cause. It's a superb environment and Bermuda is great with the races. The support is outstanding.”

The St Baldrick's Foundation was founded by John Bender, now Allied World's chief executive of reinsurance in New York, and its first fundraiser was held in an Irish bar in Manhattan on St Patrick's Day 20 years ago.

The charity has handed out $282 million in research grants since 2005 and its fundraising events, including its famous sponsored head shaves, are now held around the world, including Bermuda.

Mr Maloney's St Baldrick's donation page can be found at https://www.stbaldricks.org/fundraisers/forLisa.

Mankini moment: Mike Almskog, left, Kevin Maloney, Matt Hansen and Ola Pyzik cross the finishing line (Photograph by Raymond Hainey)

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Published January 20, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated January 20, 2020 at 1:19 pm)

Kevin nears $300,000 target in wife’s memory

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