BRISTOL, Conn. — Former Bristol resident Annmarie Mercieri will be running in the New York City Marathon this November to raise money for a new prosthetic leg for her best friend, Krista Selnau.
This is in honor of the 20th anniversary of Selnau being cancer free and the 20th anniversary of their friendship.
Mercieri, now 31, and Selnau, 30, grew up down the street from each other in Bristol. “We have been best friends for 20 years,” Mercieri said.
When Selnau was 9 years old, she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, in her left leg. This resulted in her leg being amputated above the knee, and led to the local community holding a lot of fundraisers and raising awareness through their childhood.
Selnau now lives in Portland, Maine, and works as a legal services attorney, providing free legal assistance for low-income veterans with PTSD, TBI or current homelessness. She and Mercieri spoke to a doctor about acquiring a prosthetic running leg, Mercieri said, “but it costs close to $18,000 and insurance doesn’t cover it as they deem it medically unnecessary.”
This led her to the marathon “as a platform to raise money for the running leg,” Mercieri said, so Selnau can have the chance to run for the first time in two decades.
“I’ve gone down the path of a healthy, active lifestyle, and thought to help Krista because she is always helping others,” Mercieri said. “I wanted to do something bigger, instead of blindly raising the money.”
Mercieri explained that Selnau has pushed herself to do “so many incredible things on her own,” such as rock climb, kayak and ski. She wanted to do something that put herself outside her own comfort zone, which made her decide to run her first marathon to raise money for Selnau’s prosthetic running leg.
“I am in the middle of training and am running six days a week,” Mercieri said. “My work out varies from long runs, to intensity runs, to hill intervals.”
Mercieri’s goal is to run between 20 and 22 miles by Oct. 7, she noted, then after she will slowly reduce the distance to prepare for the marathon.
“It’s my first marathon ever. I’m a little nervous but I’m doing it for (Selnau). Then next year, we can run together and raise money for childhood cancer research and hopefully the Boston Marathon one day,” Mercieri said. “The support we have received so far is phenomenal.”
The marathon on Nov. 5 is 26.2 miles and goes through all the boroughs in New York City.
Mercieri explained that $5,000 has been raised so far through a Go Fund Me page she created. Donations can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/leg-up-for-krista .
Each year about 400 children and teens younger than 20 years old are diagnosed with Osteosarcoma. Between 15 and 20 percent of those patients have had the cancer already spread to vital organs by the time of diagnosis.
For more information: The Bristol Press, www.bristolpress.com