In advance of the 4th Annual Philly Mayor’s Cup event in August, Fishtown Beer Runners have selected the American Cancer Society’s Team DetermiNation in Philadelphia as their official fundraising charity for this year.

FBR Founder David N. April explained the origins of how the running club and DetermiNation came to align themselves.

“I became familiar with DetermiNation and their mission with the American Cancer Society just seeing their blue shirts while running around Philly, especially during the Broad Street Run and Philadelphia Marathon. Early on, they were one of our first groups we did fundraisers for,” April said.

“Other individuals in Beer Runners also fundraised for DetermiNation as part of the Broad Street Run. We’ve developed a relationship over the years, but it wasn’t very close. It was more of, “They’re a great organization, they’re doing good work, let’s support them. And we hosted a fundraiser every once in a while for them,” April added.

April recounted the turning point in FBR’s relationship with DetermiNation came when he was diagnosed with kidney cancer in August 2015, during his training cycle for the New York City Marathon that same year.

“It took on a whole new meaning for me and I had a more vested interest in their mission. I wanted to give back to organizations that are fighting cancer and promoting kidney health, including the American Cancer Society and the National Kidney Foundation,” April said.

Besides his personal situation, April stated that the number of Beer Runners members who had been both directly and indirectly affected by a cancer diagnosis led him to explore a closer relationship with DetermiNation Philadelphia– and that the amount of cancer survivors in FBR, some of whom became comfortable sharing their stories after his own diagnosis, created a kinship and led to a natural partnership with DetermiNation.

“We all have some kind of connection to cancer, some more personal than others. Nonetheless, I just felt that it was something we should all get behind and support. DetermiNation is an inspirational organization. Their group is fighting the good fight for cancer awareness as well as raising hard dollars for cancer research. It’s inspiring when you see runners in their blue shirts whizzing by you with all of the ribbons on their backs for people they’re memorializing,” April said.

April also made good on his pledge to assist the group, fundraising $3,600 for DetermiNation in his completion of the New York City Marathon in 2016 (leading him to be honored by DetermiNation’s New York chapter), and again soliciting donations for the organization for the Philadelphia Half Marathon in 2017.

That dedication and support was returned by DetermiNation, who was one of several charity organizations to appear at the Beer Runners Summit last year, held at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and its Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

“We have Beer Runners that run for DetermiNation, we have DetermiNation runners that are Beer Runners. It’s part of that whole theme of partnership. And together, we hope to win the Mayor’s Cup Charity Challenge,” April said.

DetermiNation’s Events Manager Jessica Casale commented that the organization has had a relationship with April for a few years and over lunch several months ago, he asked how he could potentially become more involved with the group. As a result, FBR selected DetermiNation for their Philly Mayor’s Cup charity.

“Fishtown Beer Runners are an amazing group, they are all over the place in all that they do. They are a great group to be affiliated with, and we’re excited. It’s nice to unite for one common cause. I saw the Beer Runners documentary in April of last year, and they’ve always been very supportive of us and our mission. It’s a nice way for them to give back,” Casale said.

Casale explained that DetermiNation’s role as an athletic and fundraising arm of the American Cancer Society made them an ideal partner for FBR.

“We focus on the Broad Street Run, the Philadelphia Half Marathon and Full Marathon and help to fund research. Locally, we’ve raised over $40 million for research here in Philly,” Casale stated.

Casale added the DetermiNation Volunteer Committee of between 20 and 30 members leads and drives their events, and further outlined some of the other local services ACS offers:

  • Toll-Free Number (At 1-800-227-2345): A live phone line staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by ACS personnel who can offer a wealth of knowledge for patients seeking information on their diagnosis, lodging and treatments.
  • Road to Recovery: A transportation service which brings patients to and from their medical appointments.
  • Hope Lodge: One of 36 residential facilities owned and operated by ACS throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, where adults age 18 and over who travel to Philadelphia for medical treatments can stay, free of charge. Volunteers are also able to bring and serve meals for its guests. The local Hope Lodge is found in Cheltenham.

As FBR won the Mayor’s Cup Charity Challenge last year in raising $8,500 for Ella’s Retreat, another cancer-based charity organization focusing on pediatric patients, new fundraisers are planned on FBR’s Thursday run nights in the lead-up to Mayor’s Cup to collect donations for Team DetermiNation. Among them:

  • City Tap House University City – “Kick The Keg” – May 17
  • Fishtown Brewpub – June 21
  • Frankford Hall – July 12
  • Johnny Brenda’s Talent Show – July 26
  • Philadelphia Brewing Company – Aug. 9

For this year, DetermiNation’s Mayor’s Cup Head Coach will be Emily Molitoris and serving as FBR’s Mayor’s Cup Captains will be Keith Tomaselli, Fred Druding, Melissa Mondello and Jill Capel.

Online donations may be made at the following link: https://runsignup.com/Race/13220/Charity/6058


By Nicholas Malfitano