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Approximately 35 undergraduates participated in the 15th Annual Scott Mackler 5K Memorial Run/Walk. They joined Beta Pi alumni Ron Perilstein '77 and Harvey Mackler '72, Delaware alum Bob Tkachick, and 350 other participants to raise money and awareness to benefit The ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter.

In all, the event raised over $75,000, with $1,000 being raised by Beta Pi undergraduates. 

Thanks to Philanthropy Chair Joseph Cesare for putting together this recap of his experience at this year's event...

This year, Beta Pi continued its tradition in supporting and participating in the 15th Annual Scott Mackler 5K Memorial Run/Walk for the ALS. On a beautiful fall day on the 26th of October, we filled a yellow school bus headed to Temple Beth El in northern Delaware in order to support our Beta Pi brother, Scott Mackler, who had finally lost his long battle with ALS the previous year. Because many of the brothers had met Scott before he passed away at the Mackler Run the previous year, this year was particularly special. As a newly initiated member from the spring class of 2014, I didn’t have the opportunity to meet Scott, but as I will explain later, I found a unique connection to him.

Our day began with the bus ride to Delaware, which proved to be memorable. We had set a fundraising goal of $1,000 a week before the race, but we were only $30 short of reaching our goal. When I announced this news, the brotherhood responded without hesitation. Each person on the bus reached into his wallets to put together a final sum of $53.75, pushing us past our goal. As the new Philanthropy Chair without any previous experience, I was proud of the brotherhood for reaching this a goal at such short notice, and I am hopeful of setting and reaching a higher goal in the future.
When we finally arrived at Temple Beth El, we were given a warm welcome by another Beta Pi brother, Harvey Mackler, who has dedicated so much of his time to support Scott’s cause and the cause of others with ALS. With his help, the brotherhood finished registration. We then continued to socialize with one another, and some of the brothers prepared for the race by warming up with each other. Then, when the time came to begin, a total of 34 brothers crowded with the other participants at the race line, and soon enough, the race began.

Personally, I was hoping to push myself, but I knew that I wasn’t going to get a time anywhere near my past 5Ks. This seemed to be the attitude of many of the brothers, but no matter whether one of us ran, jogged, or walked, we showed each other support and encouragement. Every time I passed a fellow Beta Pi member, I was encouraged by cheers and pushed to do better. Although such a parallel is cliché, I couldn’t help but think of how this related to our everyday interaction with one another. Through all the good times and hard times that we share, my brothers in Beta Pi have always been there to support me, to give me encouragement, and to push me to achieve my dreams. What makes our bond so different from the normal friendships we could make throughout our lives was the very reason that we were at the Mackler Run in the first place.

In the end, Patrick Luo, Jon Kluger, and Basil Jackson were the first brothers to finish the race, and the rest of the brothers followed. After the race, we congratulated each other and proceeded to lunch where we continued to enjoy each other’s company in memory of Scott. It is at this point that I found a connection to a brother I was never given the opportunity to meet. I found out that Scott had studied medicine at Penn, went to Boston General Hospital for his residency, and returned to Penn as a member of the faculty to continue to practice, teach, and do research. He worked tirelessly for others and dedicated his life to others, and he bravely fought ALS till the end. To hear this, as a “pre-med” undergraduate with similar dreams, was inspiring. To think that Scott, at one point in his life, was in my shoes made me appreciate the challenge put before me as well as appreciate the brothers in Beta Pi who will always be there to support me and challenge me to achieve those dreams.

After such a rewarding experience, the brotherhood loaded our bus and headed back to the chapter house. I felt revitalized and was ready to accept the challenges that awaited me this semester as well as excited to enjoy the company of my brothers with a new appreciation.