Stonehill Student Finds Success Running to Benefit Crohn’s Disease in Honor of Father
June 16, 2011
by Vicki-Ann Downing
Patriot Ledger and Brockton Enterprise
When his father, Steve, was diagnosed last summer with Crohn's disease, 21-year-old Jake Marcus hit the ground running.
Since March, the Stonehill College student has completed a full marathon and a half marathon on the way toward helping his family and friends raise more than $150,000 to benefit the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America.
And he has surprised even himself, finishing second in his first marathon and second in his age group in the half marathon.
"I've never been so proud of him," said Steve Marcus, 56, an Easton resident who has a law practice in Braintree.
Steve Marcus, who grew up in Holbrook, suffered from ulcerative colitis in high school and college, which led to frequent hospitalizations. But the problem cleared up when he was 21, and he remained healthy until last summer, when he was diagnosed with Crohn's, an inflammation of the small intestine for which there is no cure.
"He seems to do OK, but when he has a flare-up, he isn't himself," Jake Marcus said. "You can tell he's in pain and not really himself as much as he usually is, and that's kind of tough to see."
After receiving the diagnosis, the Marcus family considered raising money for the foundation with a one-day road race in Easton. Then Jake, a runner since his days at Oliver Ames High School, decided to join the foundation's Team Challenge, whose members run half marathons to raise funds.
Jake ran a full marathon, his first, in March in Severna Park, Md., finishing second. On June 4, he competed again in a half marathon in Loudoun, Va., finishing ninth overall, second in his age group and first among the 650 Team Challenge members.
He will run with Team Challenge again on July 17 in Napa, Calif.
Meanwhile, the Marcus' 20-member fund-raising committee, which operates under the name "Team Intestinal Fortitude," is planning an event closer to home on Friday night.
A Texas Hold 'Em poker tournament will be held from 5:30 to 11 p.m. at Oakes Ames Memorial Hall. The entry fee is $100 per person, with a high-stakes table available at $1,000 per player. Porticello restaurant will donate Italian food, and a cash bar will be offered.
Throughout the fund-raising campaign, "the outpouring of generosity has been incredible," said Marcus.
At one point, the group raised $30,000 within three weeks, he said.
Depending on stomach pain, Marcus is able to work at his law office "off and on." But he prefers to focus on children with the illness, like Timmy Wright, a 6-year-old from Norwood who will be honorary chairman of the poker tournament.
Timmy missed most of his year in kindergarten and was in the hospital for 59 days, said Marcus, who visited and brought him a video game system and sports memorabilia.
Jake Marcus, who is studying finance and economics at Stonehill, has an internship in New York City this summer and is taking a course at Fordham University, but said he will be home in Easton for the poker tournament - and Father's Day.
For more information or to register for the poker tournament, contact Carol Lang at 781-843-5000, Ext. 119, or email email@example.com.
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