**Remembering Leighann: A Run for a Cause**
In the crisp autumn air of November 12, 2023, Laurel Acres Park in Mount Laurel, NJ, witnessed a remarkable gathering—friends, family, and local residents coming together for the 2nd Annual Leighann’s Memorial 5K/1M Run/Walk. This heartfelt event served as both a tribute to Leighann Cyphers Pronkowitz-Russo and a powerful initiative to support the Myocarditis Foundation’s mission.
Leighann, a vibrant soul born in Marlton, New Jersey, left an indelible mark on those who knew her. A graduate of Cherokee High School and Rowan University, Leighann was not only a Registered Nurse but also a fitness enthusiast, participating in sports like soccer, softball, karate, running, and kickboxing. Her sudden and tragic passing on November 14, 2021, due to giant cell myocarditis, left a void in the lives of her husband Mark, children Annabella and Luca, two siblings, and father.
**Honoring a Passion for Health and Fitness**
Leighann’s dedication to health and fitness inspired the organization of this memorial run/walk, aimed at raising awareness about myocarditis and giant cell myocarditis. Many are unaware of the gravity of this disease, and the event provided a platform to educate and remember.
The community response was overwhelming, with participants joining from various walks of life to contribute to the cause. The combined efforts of last year’s run and this year’s event surpassed expectations, raising over $16,000 for the Myocarditis Foundation.
**A Day of Celebration and Support**
The event featured a mix of emotions—celebration of Leighann’s life, remembrance, and a collective commitment to supporting the Myocarditis Foundation. Participants of all ages, backgrounds, and fitness levels came together to make a meaningful impact.
The run/walk, set against the picturesque backdrop of Laurel Acres Park, showcased the strength of community bonds. From the 1 Mile walkers circling the lake to the 5K runners navigating a carefully planned course, each step carried the spirit of Leighann and the shared commitment to raise awareness for myocarditis.
**Looking Ahead: A Commitment to Continued Awareness**
As the leaves fell and participants crossed the finish lines, a profound sense of accomplishment and unity lingered in the air. The funds raised will contribute to the Myocarditis Foundation’s ongoing efforts to develop treatments and find a cure for this deadly disease.
The success of the 2nd Annual Leighann’s Memorial 5K/1M Run/Walk is a testament to the enduring impact of Leighann’s legacy and the collective strength of a community united for a greater cause.
We extend our deepest gratitude to all participants, sponsors, and supporters who made this event possible. Together, we are making strides in the fight against myocarditis, ensuring that Leighann’s memory lives on and that others may have hope for a healthier future.