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Kittery, Maine Gym donates to family’s Boston Marathon effort Group running for autism research through Flutie Foundation

Portsmouth Herald - 4/10/2017

KITTERY, Maine – Participants of Freda Emerson’s rigorous exercise classes at Coastal Fitness were getting a little extra for their money over the last several weeks, aside from the most premiere TRX workout in the Seacoast.

Emerson has recently been putting on drop-in TRX classes at Coastal Fitness and on Sunday the attendance fees from the classes plus a donation from Coastal Fitness owner, Mark DellaPasqua, were presented on a big check for $1,368 to be donated to club members Christy Varney and her father Tim Proctor. The two are running the Boston Marathon as a team for “We Run with Ellie” to benefit autism research along with former NFL player Doug Flutie’s, Flutie Foundation.

“Mark and I have worked together as a team to be able to make this donation,” said Emerson of Kittery. “It’s a cause that’s dear to my heart as well since my 20-year-old daughter is autistic. She’s come along a long way with the help of organizations like the Flutie Foundation.”

Ellie is the daughter of Janelle Dunn, Varney’s sister, and she was diagnosed with high functioning autism in July 2016.

“I feel grateful every day for the continued research and awareness happening for autism,” said Dunn. “We are so blessed to have an amazing daughter who will have every opportunity to excel in the future because of foundations like Doug Flutie’s.”

To help raise money for Autism research Dunn, Varney and Proctor have been fundraising as a trio, and Varney and Proctor are running the April 17 marathon with the official team of the Flutie Foundation, Dougie’s Team.

Varney is running in her first Boston Marathon having previously run in the Mad Marathon in Waitsfield, Vermont. She said her team has hosted a silent auction on Feb. 3, placed donation jars at a handful of businesses in Kittery and has been supported by over 140 donors.

“In this process, it’s been amazing to see just how supportive our community has been,” said Varney of Kittery. “It really restores my faith in community and reminds me that when you meet people, they’ll want to rally around you and support you.”

Varney and Proctor said they had a personal fundraising goal of $22,500 and with the donation from Emerson and Coastal Fitness the father-daughter pair has exceeded their personal goal. Varney also said Dougie’s Team has already exceeded their team goal of $125,000 for the marathon.

“We picked a winner with the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation,” said Proctor, a six-time marathon runner and resident of Kittery. “Boston knows tough and they know winners. The greatest race in the world has given us the opportunity to make a difference in other people’s lives.”

DellaPasqua said the donation was part of the gym’s desire to help the club’s members in their charitable efforts.

“We just try to get involved with the community and all our members,” said DellaPasqua of York. “Freda asked me if we wanted to be a part of this effort and I said, ‘of course,’ because we want to be doing everything we can to help our community as a fitness center.”


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