Natick Resident to Speak at Annual Charity Event

By Renee Plant, Contributing Writer
Runners lined up at starting line at the 2015 Pam’s Run. (Photo/submitted)
Issue Date: 
October, 2016
Article Body: 

On October 16, members of the community will join together and persevere through a road race. “Pam’s Run” will honor Neighbor Brigade founder Pam Washek who, fittingly, is best remembered for bringing people together to push through trying times.
The 4th annual fundraiser will take place in Wayland, and will feature Natick resident Susan Lane as its guest speaker. The goal is to raise funds for Neighbor Brigade, a local volunteer-based organization committed to helping families facing an immediate crisis. Volunteers at the Neighbor Brigade say Washek envisioned the event prior to losing her battle with cancer in 2012.
“[Pam] always had the dream of having a run or walk as a fundraiser to support the organization she founded, as well as other local charities,” Polly Mendoza, executive director at the Neighbor Brigade, said.
“When she passed away, her family decided to carry on her dream of a road race, and they organized the first Pam’s Run in October of 2013,” added Washek’s niece Jayme Nowland, who is also the co-director of the race committee. “The event is [meant] to keep Pam’s memory and legacy alive, and to bring people together in an inspiring environment.”
Speaking at the event will be Susan Lane, a recipient of services through Neighbor Brigade. Mendoza says Lane’s voice at the event will address the way in which the organization brings light to those going through dark times.
“Susan beautifully demonstrates how a community comes together to help someone during a crisis, and how that help forms new and lasting relationships between volunteers and recipients,” Mendoza said. “Her story gives hope that from your most difficult time, you can inspire others by how you work together to achieve a positive outcome.”
The event features different categories for anyone in the community looking to get involved, including a 5K walk, a 5K run and a 10K run. New this year is a “Kids’ Fun Run” for children ages 2 to 7, which will take place after the main races. This, Mendoza says, is a reflection of how the organization joins people of different groups together to work toward one common goal.
“The first and foremost goal of the event is to remember Pam, the inspirational life she lead, and the legacy she left by creating Neighbor Brigade, which continues to grow and prosper,” Mendoza said. “While many of the stories about the people we help represent a very difficult time in a person’s life, the focus is always on people coming together in the community to support their neighbors, which is a reflection of the kind and warm human spirit that exists everywhere.”
Currently, the organization has 29 chapters in the state, all run by volunteers in the community dedicated to providing services to their neighbors in need. Neighbor Brigade offers help with tasks such as meal preparation, basic household chores and transportation. In this way, Washek continues to give back through her legacy, as support is given to those who need it most.
“Pam was very aware and appreciative of the help she received when she was battling cancer, and her dream was that everyone could receive that level of support from their community,” Mendoza said. “This event, similar to the work done on a daily basis at Neighbor Brigade, brings people together and shows the deep level of caring and kindness that is in us all.”
For more information about the Neighbor Brigade, or to get involved with the event, visit