Family who lost father to COVID-19 organizes charity race to support victims
The community in one Monmouth County town is coming together to honor and remember those who lost their lives in the COVID-19 pandemic.
The family of one victim is hosting a memorial 5K race this weekend to raise money and awareness for those who are still suffering from the virus.
“There’s been many losses, not just our family. It’s been a hard road,” says Dina Masterpalo-Harris.
Masterpalo-Harris lost her husband Ed Harris to COVID-19 in April 2020. Early in the pandemic, Masterpalo-Harris and her two sons Jeff and Nick were one of the many families that were unable to be with their loved ones at the end of their lives.
“When that happened, the community all around New Jersey rose up. They started a GoFundMe, they started a memorial drive-by because we couldn’t have a funeral. Everybody stepped up,” says Jeff Harris.
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To give back to that generosity, the Harris family has organized a “Run to Remember 5K” at Holmdel High School this Sunday. It is one of what they hope will be many memorial events, monuments and gatherings to remember, honor and support those impacted by COVID-19.
“This needs to start happening all over the country. Raise money, raise awareness and make this a trending topic to help so many people out there. This affects so many people around the whole world,” says Jeff Harris.
The money raised at the 5K will go to two local charities, including the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund – an organization set up to help families going through financial, social, mental and medical issues related to the virus.
Ed Harris was born and raised in Holmdel. He was a star on the high school basketball and track teams and owned a landscaping business. His death was mentioned by Gov. Phil Murphy during one of the governor’s early COVID-19 briefings.
The Harris family has already raised $25,000 for the effort. They say they expect to bring in more on race day.
More information about the event can be found on the Run to Remember website.