Written by Michael Sobel Friday, 30 March 2012 00:00
Julia Rusinek died in 1999 from an undiagnosed heart condition while running in the streets of Washington DC. Each of us has come to know Julia in a unique and special way. Some were fortunate enough to know her in life. For others, Run for Children represents a first glimpse into her spirit. The first Run for Children was held in New Haven in 2000 and today marks the 13th anniversary of the event.
For Julia, running was transcendent and the Run for Children itself is a living portrait of Julia; at once physical and spiritual, geared toward the community but still conducive to self-reflection and most of all, serving the hope and promise that is for children. That the run is a poetic reflection of Julia is a tribute to the hard work of her parents. Each year before the run, I have seen the tremendous devotion and endless hours that Roza and Henry have poured into this event. Having lost a sibling in his 20s, I know the acute pain that comes with the sweetness of memory. For Roza and Henry to celebrate Julia and give to the community in this way is not only an act of love but an act of courage. It is this type of courage that came so naturally to Julia.
When I hear Julia’s written word – whether a reflective journal entry, a heartfelt letter, or a beautiful poem – I am always struck by the almost supernatural wisdom she possessed at such a young age. It is both inspiring and humbling. I imagine we all feel a terrible pang when we consider the great potential that was given such brief voice in this world. As individuals, it is hard to fathom such magnificence and such loss but together, as family, as friends, as a caring and loving community we can begin to embrace Julia’s glow and offer it to the next generation.
The 13th annual Julia’s Run for Children will take place at Yale University on April 15. For more information, visit www .juliarun.org or call 487-9502. The organizers would like to thank Great Neck’s Bagel Hut for having donated delicious bagels and muffins to all of the past runs.