Kevin Belanger’s running gear includes one item he must have on every training run and every road race he competes in. It’s a treasured item he wears in memory of his sister. It can’t be replaced and Belanger wears it proudly.
“I have been serious about my training and running over the past couple years, always wearing Denise’s cancer cap, taking her with me on each and every run. She will be with me for every stride of this 26.2 mile journey,” Belanger said about his plans to run in this year’s Boston Marathon.
Belanger, a former college baseball player and a popular youth soccer, hockey and baseball coach in Haverhill for many years, will run the 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to downtown Boston in memory of his sister.
“This cause is very important to me,” Belanger said about his efforts to raise money for the Melanoma Foundation of New England as a member of its running team, Running for Cover, which he joined this year.
“I lost my younger sister three years ago to melanoma,” Belanger notes on his Running for Cover fundraising website. “Denise, a 44-year-old mother of three when she was diagnosed, passed less than a year later.”
Belanger, 50, of Haverhill said that prior to being diagnosed with melanoma, his sister worked for Unison Industries, a division of General Electric, in Jacksonville, Florida, where she introduced and chaired a successful Relay for Life campaign for the American Cancer Society.
“Denise was recognized by GE for her tireless efforts and amazing accomplishment in getting this campaign started at her company,” he said. “Her co-workers continue the annual campaign, paying her efforts forward. I was so inspired by both her battle and amazing accomplishment that I have decided to pick up her torch and willingness to help others as well.”