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Give & Take: Running together, for better.

Emily Roy,  Mia Rossi,  Michelle Mandara,  Emily Blum,  Amy Fetterolf,  Chandler Stearns,  Emily Bergwall,  Tate Mikkelsen

People who work together do a lot together – take calls, send emails, prepare for meetings – the list goes on. But something special happens when people who work together are connected by something outside of the “usual” day to day of their jobs. This year, nine Prosek employees are connected by their individual journeys to train for, and complete, a marathon – all of them doing so for charity. 

Here are some stories about our 2023 Prosek marathon runners and the charities they are supporting/have supported along the way. While the charities and experiences of these runners vary, they all have one thing in common: running in pursuit of something bigger than 26.2 miles.

Amy Fetterolf, Assistant Account Executive, New York
As both an avid runner and someone who was born and raised in New York, running the NYC Marathon has always been a dream of mine. I have always known that I would one day run the marathon, but I knew that when I did, I wanted it to be on behalf of a charity whose work meant a lot to me. After watching countless neighbors, family members, and friends run 26.2 miles through the best city in the world, I am so excited run it this year on behalf of an incredible charity: The Epilepsy Foundation of Metro NY (EFMNY)

Three years ago, my 17-year-old sister was diagnosed with epilepsy, and the journey since then has been incredibly challenging for her and for my family. The average person (and this was certainly true for my family) likely doesn’t know what epilepsy is, and worse, doesn’t know what to do when someone has a seizure. The Epilepsy Foundation of Metro NY works to educate the public on epilepsy and is New York City’s only specialized organization combining epilepsy education, awareness, and advocacy with individualized services like counseling and vocational support. The work the EFMNY does for individuals with epilepsy and their families is unparalleled, and I am so honored to be running on behalf of them, and on behalf of my sister Anna. 

Chandler Stearns, Assistant Account Executive, New York

Chandler's mom and stepdad crossing the finish line in Chicago
Chandler's mom and stepdad crossing the
finish line in Chicago. 

Over the years, I have watched my mom, dad, stepmom, stepdad and cousin cross the Chicago Marathon finish line. After watching the New York City Marathon last November, with its infectious energy and team comradery, I decided to finally check “run a marathon” off my bucket list and signed up for November 2023 a week later. 

I am running the marathon on behalf of Team for Kids for New York Road Runners, which supports youth programs throughout New York and serves more than 240,000 students locally and nationally through free NYRR youth running programs, events and resources. Since 2022, Team for Kids has raised more than $100 million dollars and is recognized by Partnership for a Healthier America as a leader in the fight against childhood obesity and health issues.

Growing up in the city of Chicago, there was a large emphasis on the importance of looking inward and helping your community. While I have not been in NYC for very long, I love the idea of running for a charity that touches all 5 boroughs and gives kids access to outdoor activities (something I could not live without!). 

I’m so excited and can’t wait to run alongside my Prosek colleagues!

Emily Bergwall, Account Executive, New York
In 2022, I watched my best friend run the NYC marathon and was so inspired by the way the event brought the city together. I stood there thinking it would be fun to run it the next year, but never thought it was a possibility. With a lot of persuasion, I began training for a half marathon in January. After successfully finishing that in April, I made the decision to fully commit to running the 2023 TCS NYC Marathon with Project Purple

Project Purple is a non-profit organization committed to advancing research, raising awareness, and bringing hope to those affected by pancreatic cancer. The decision to run with Project Purple was an easy one for me. After losing my dad to pancreatic cancer in 2019, I had been looking for a way to honor his memory and support those currently battling the disease. The training process has definitely been challenging, but I know there is going to be no better feeling than crossing the finish line at the end of the race. I am so excited to be a part of this amazing team and to make a difference in the lives of pancreatic cancer patients and their families. 

Emily Blum, Senior Associate, Investor Relations, New York
As someone who grew up running their whole life for sports, if you were to tell me a year ago that I would be choosing to run on my own, let alone run 26.2 miles, I would have thought you were crazy. This past April I decided to run my first half marathon and have had a runner’s high ever since. When I decided to run the marathon, I knew that I wanted to run with a charity. Once I discovered that the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF) had a team, I knew it was meant to be.

JDRF is the largest nongovernmental funder of Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) research and the only global organization with a strategic research plan to fight T1D. My younger brother, Jonathan, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when he was 15 years old and, from that day on, my entire family’s life was changed. Despite having to adapt to a totally new lifestyle at such a young age, he has gone through the past few years with grace and a smile on his face. Having both a person and a great organization to support has made this journey even better and I am thrilled to be running as part of Team JDRF so that one day type one turns into type none!

Emily Roy, Senior Vice President, New York 

Emily and Peanut.

After years of watching the NYC Marathon and saying "Man, we should do this.", it's happening. A friend committed last April and got to work on her 9+1 training to qualify, whereas I rolled my eyes and said, “no way”. Then I realized, actually, I think I want to do it too, and if I do run it, I absolutely want to do it with Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS) NY as my charity. I then went on basically my first ever real run on May 15, 2022, and here we are. 

The mission of PAWS NY is to help New York City’s most vulnerable residents remain with their pets by delivering critical programs and services through a community of partners and volunteers. PAWS NY keeps pets in their homes while protecting and promoting the human-animal bond that all of us love.

I have volunteered with PAWS basically since I moved to the City 10 years ago. First, as a weekly walker with Jake and Buj on Avenue D, then as a walker near Prosek’s New York office, and now in the UES. Most "famously" however (a video of us was on Good Morning America, so yes, we're famous), is my time as a foster to the one and only Peanut Smith. Peanut brought so much joy to 4th St. and Ave A (and to many colleagues on Zoom) during the pandemic, and I will be thinking of him and his mom, Muriel, during the race!

Mia Rossi, Senior Account Executive, New York
My apartment is right along the NYC marathon route, and “I can do that” is something I’ve said to myself on marathon Sunday for the past four years as I watch the runners pass by. But it wasn’t until my best friend was one of those runners in 2022, that I decided I actually would. I started testing the waters the very next day with a 30-minute run. It ended up being mostly a walk, but the thought of 26.2 stuck with me. It wasn’t until I found a bigger purpose for the run that I went “all in” on it. That bigger purpose was Team for Kids – the New York Road Runner’s charity that raises money to provide free activities and resources for kids across the city. If I signed up to raise money with Team for Kids, I could run the marathon as a part of the team. As they say – the rest is history.

Team for Kids is really a fitting charity for me. Growing up, I was never athletic. I was surrounded by people who excelled at sports and were always going to practices or games, but that was never my thing. I had to find ways to be active outside of organized sports, and the programs that Team for Kids provides are exactly that. 

While I’ve had the opportunity to give to my community by running the marathon for charity, I’ve taken so much from it as well. I now feel connected to the community of runners I see training alongside me throughout the city and am excited to be alongside them on race day. Training for a marathon has given me a new confidence in myself and taught me (over and over again!) the importance of continuously picking yourself back up (literally and figuratively). 

Michelle Mandara, Managing Director, Fairfield
When I learned that Oprah Winfrey ran the Chicago Marathon years ago, she inspired me to make a similar promise to myself that one day I’d run the NYC Marathon – that day came in November of 2021. A day that I’ll never forget. One of the most joyful, powerful, emotional, best days I’ve ever lived in my life. The strangers, NYC’s finest, my family and friends from all walks of life – the city I was born in and lived in for 20 years - my city – all cheered and supported me in ways I never experienced before.  That day I became a marathoner and haven’t looked back until now. 

Training for a marathon is one of the hardest commitments I’ve ever had to make. When you set your alarm to wake up and have to run 20 miles as part of the training, it can be scary and overwhelming, especially if your previous long run didn’t go as planned. When I was training for the NYC Marathon and had to run 16 miles, the ‘wheels came off’ as they say, and my left leg started cramping - it felt like I was running with a brick. I ran through the pain and barely finished. But I reminded myself that the blood, sweat, and tears during practice is what creates your marathon experience. The day of the marathon is a dance – a celebration and a time to feel alive! 

This year, I ran the Chicago Marathon with my sister to support After School Matters, Chicago’s largest, and a leading national provider of out-of-school-time programs for high school teens. For my sister, this was her first marathon, and I was so excited to run alongside her as she experienced the joy that I got to relive again. 

Tate Mikkelsen, Senior Account Executive, Washington D.C.
Running a marathon has been a lifelong goal of mine. Ever since my mom used to push me in a jogging stroller during her long runs, I would move my arms like I was running too and watch her. Once I was old enough to run myself, I never looked back. However, during the pandemic, I lost my routine and, before I knew it, I had gone over a year and a half without running. Signing up for this year’s Chicago Marathon was a great way to push myself, accomplish a goal, and return to something that I love – all for a great cause.

I ran for St. Jude Children Research Hospital. My cousin – who is a pediatric oncologist – began working at St. Jude last year. Fundraising for them was a natural decision, especially after hearing her stories of the amazing lifesaving care they provide for children and their families. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since it opened around 50 years ago. Thank you to Prosek’s corporate match program and all those who donated for their generous contribution towards my fundraising goal and in support of St. Jude.

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