It was a news story that has transfixed the community: a father dead, a mother and son critically injured, allegedly at the hands of their oldest son and brother.
But, of course, the Cipriano family is not merely a headline: they are people, people suffering unimaginable pain. To the members and staff of the Farmington YMCA, mother Rose Cipriano is also one of their own. Rose was a trainer a the Y and swam on a master’s swim team.
The Cipriano family was well-known and loved in the community long before tragedy struck, and so friends wanted to do something to help the family through this difficult time. April Tini is one of those friends, and along with Jenny Birmelin, Rose’s swim coach, they settled on the idea of a run to raise money for a trust for the Cipriano children.
“They were very active in the Farmington community and beyond; they knew so many people and touched so many lives with their warm ways and community involvement, that everyone around town wanted to do something to help the family during this difficult time. The Cipriano 5K turned out to be the solution!” April says.
The final tally is still being counted, but thanks to generous sponsors and entry fees, the race generated in the neighborhood of $60,000 for the Cipriano Children’s Fund.
The race was a tribute as much as a fundraiser; Rose’s son Tanner gave a speech at the beginning of the race and designed the logos for the shirts. Jenny says one of her favorite moments was the evening of the race, when “slowly, I watched the Y’s parking lot go from 50, to 100, to 200, and climb to 2,094 participants and another hundred or two volunteers and spectators.” Many participants didn’t know the Cipriano family but were touched by their story and wanted to show support.
According to Farmington Y senior program director Leana Parker, a volunteer committee of about 35 people coalesced around getting the run together with only 5 weeks of planning. They were able to give away 150 prizes to runners courtesy of their sponsors. “It was very awesome to see the amount of people willing to help,” she says.
One thing that sets the Y apart from other places is that it is a true community — people care for each other in very real ways. So it’s not surprising that they stepped up to help one of their own. April Tini says they went above and beyond to help honor their coworker and friend. “The staff at the YMCA was truly amazing, doing anything and everything that was asked of them….they went the extra mile to help from every angle, and they jumped at the chance. They were terrific!”
Jenny says Leana and Pam Horetski were “amazing volunteers — they responded to our dozens of emails all day long, attended all of our planning committee meetings on Monday nights and also answered the hundreds of calls/emails that they were fielding from interested Y members. In my view, Leana should be the next Employee of the Month and be given that parking space she deserves.”
When a tragedy like the Ciprano family’s happens, people want to help in some way. The Run for Rose gave the community a way to show support whether they know the family or not, and used the power of the YMCA community to do it.