By Kirsten Bazuro
On May 10, 2018, a group of 14 women departed Connecticut to run the 200-mile Ragnar Cape Cod Relay in honor of my sister, Melissa Scheibel Miller.
Melissa had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 and fiercely fought it along with her husband, Bill Miller and two young sons, Christopher and Bryson. Unfortunately, in 2016, it returned and took her life in October of 2017.
Sandy Schill, my other sister, and I wanted to do something to honor Melissa. Being from Sandy Hook, I had run races for other charities, so we decided together to do this race in her memory.
Starting in Hull, MA on May 10th and ending in Provincetown, MA on May 11th, our relay team was made up of family and friends— 12 runners and two drivers who proudly called ourselves Melissa’s Minions.
Melissa’s husband and children thought it would be wonderful to give back to a place that took such great care of her in her final hours—they decided to raise funds for Regional Hospice and Palliative Care.
The Ragnar Cape Cod Relay has teams with 6 runners for each van. Van 1 started in Hull, and I kicked it off for the team, running leg 1. Each runner runs 3 different legs (of varying distances) with runner 6 handing the ‘baton’ over to runner 7 to start the next van off for legs 7-12, and so on.
The weather was beautiful on Friday, May 11th and perfect for running. Runners continue through the night with breaks only while the team members in the other van are on the course. Participants get very little or no sleep—what we do get is support from fellow runners, great comradery and a special bond of friendship that comes from pushing limits to honor a loved one.
Saturday dawned and was beautiful for the last set of runs. Yet even as a storm moved in that morning, the runners kept with it. Runner 12, Amy Photopolous, a friend of Melissa’s, ran the very last leg, leg 36. As she rounded the hill toward the finish line, all 11 other runners and 2 drivers joined her in the rain and we all crossed the finish line together.
Our 12 ladies ran 183.6 miles over 29 hours through hills, over bridges, in the hot sun, throughout the night and in the rain. We ran for breast cancer awareness, for the Regional Hospice Center for Comfort Care & Healing, and even more, out of love for our sister and friend, Melissa Miller.
Our team raised over $6,000! Melissa loved Nantucket and hydrangeas—our gift to Regional Hospice will honor her with a beautiful row of hydrangeas that will be planted along the front of the visitors parking lot. The next time you pull into the Center, please look at her plaque and think of the tired, rain-soaked crew Melissa inspired to hit the finish line!
Regional Hospice and Palliative Care thanks all of Melissa’s Minions for their support and generosity!