Pediatric Nurses Run Marathon for Kids They Care for   

Pediatric Nurses Run Marathon for Kids They Care for

Jamie DeLaura and Alyssa Dunnigan

They didn’t “break the tape” as the first to run through it, but Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital nurses and sisters Jamie DeLaura and Alyssa Dunnigan were winners in the 2022 TCS New York City Marathon held on November 6, 2022.

The sisters ran the race to raise much-needed funds for pediatric cancer research and patient programs for Tackle Kids Cancer, a philanthropic program part of Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation that benefits The Children’s Cancer Institute at Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health.

“Crossing the finish line was very emotional for me,” says Jamie. “The kids I work with and their families are some of the strongest people I know. We try everything we can to make sure they still get to be a kid, despite their diagnosis.”

Adds Alyssa: “Being able to do this and make a donation to the foundation affecting those kids was an incredible honor. Doing things in life to positively impact others will always make you feel good. While working in this hospital with the kids, we get to see how the support can truly change a kid’s life.”

Dedication and Commitment

“Training for a marathon takes a lot of dedication, commitment and passion for yourself and for the sport,” says Jamie, who ran approximately three days a week; Alyssa ran four. “Nursing requires the same.”

Alyssa says both pursuits require mental and emotional stamina. “As a nurse, you are constantly using your brain and you’re on your feet to get the work done,” she says. “Taking pride in the things that you do is incredibly important, and there is truly nothing I have done like running this marathon.”

Their accomplishments are a source of pride for others who work with them. “We are very grateful to Jamie and Alyssa for extending themselves and raising money for Tackle Kids Cancer," says Amy Glazer, executive director of Tackle Kids Cancer and of Children's Health, Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation. "They know better than anyone the difficult journey children and families face when given a cancer diagnosis. Giving back to their own patients by supporting Tackle Kids Cancer's mission is a true act of kindness."

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