Life's serendipity will come full circle for Kelly Pollard at Sunday's Minute Man Races in Westport. Her 11-year-old daughter, Kaeleigh, and her sister, Karen Jacobs, are running in the races associated. They are running for the Susan Fund , a Westport-based group that provides scholarships for Fairfield County residents who have been treated for cancer.
The fund is named for Susan Davis Lloyd, who died in 1980 after a courageous bout with bone cancer. Pollard was one of Lloyd's best friends and serves on the Susan Fund's board of directors.
"We met when we were in the seventh grade at Bedford Junior High, and we spent a lot of time together,'' said Pollard, who also works for the Westport Young Woman's League , the sponsor of Sunday's race. "We worked at the movie theater together. We were very close friends."
Kaeleigh and her friend, Kelley Flynn, will hold a tag sale for children after Sunday's races and donate the proceeds to the Susan Fund.
The fund distributed $73,000 last year to deserving students. Since it started in 1982, the Susan Fund has awarded more than $1 million to more than 600 students from Fairfield County who have had cancer.
"Susan's big dream was to go to college,'' Pollard said. "That's what she was living for. She was full of life, full of spirit. Many of them have the same qualities as Susan. They are driven, and they want to give back. I've seen Susan reflected in many of the people we've been able to help."
Lloyd was a track athlete and cheerleader at Staples, and friends and family members recall her fighting spirit on the fund's website.
Pollard's friend has been gone for 31 years. That Lloyd's legacy has lived on is a testament to her will and that of her family and friends. Having her daughter and her sister run for the cause makes Sunday's race more poignant for Pollard. "I know,'' Pollard said, "she's proud of what we're doing."
The races begin at 7:45 a.m. There are children's races of various distances, and 5k and 10k races as well. Runners can register online . The Susan Fund is one of many charitable causes supported by runners and other donors. Complete information is available on the league's website .
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