SUTTON, Mass. - The second annual Michael Ellsessar Sutton Family Run will be held May 20 at the Simonian Center for Early Learning in Sutton. During a 2010 junior varsity football game, Michael was tackled and then hit in the chest, which fatally stopped his heart. He was 16 years old.
Michael's parents John and Luann Ellsessar led the fight to ensure that all school districts have an emergency response plan for medical emergencies, similar to plans that respond to school shootings which include having an AED (automated external defibrillator). For example, school districts with AEDs would be required to move the defibrillator devices to after hour school events like concerts and sporting games.
So their focus with the help of Rep. Ryan Fattman and others was for "Mike's Bill" to gain support in the Mass. State House. On April 18, "Mike's Bill" became "Mike's Law" as Governor Deval Patrick signed the law, coincidentally on John's birthday, "a great birthday present, Mike was smiling down on us" Ellsessar said. "That was just phenomenal news, ultimately lives will be saved, it won't ever bring Mike back, but this law will save another parents' anguish over losing a child" he said.
The 5K and 10K races start at 9 a.m., while the Kids' Fun Run starts at 10:45. All races begin and end at the Simonian Center for Early Leaning on Boston Road. Registration is $25 per runner; the first 150 people who register by May 4 will receive a T-shirt. Cost for the fun run is $2 plus a food pantry donation; same-day registration only. Registration and check-in begins at 7:30 a.m.
The run will be held rain or shine. No dogs, please. All proceeds will go to the Michael Ellsessar Scholarship Fund as well as a new store that will be set up in the basement of the First Congregational Church in Sutton. "Mike's Sporting Spirit will be the name of it", Ellsessar said with pride. "We are absolutely thrilled about this, it will be a used sporting goods equipment store, where residents can turn in old or unused sporting equipment, which will be cleaned, refurbished and a donation tag will be fixed to it." He added, "but the best part of it is, if a person can't afford to pay for all of it or any of it, they can just take it. That will be in keeping with Mike's love of sports."
"Mike was looking down upon us again" Ellsessar said adding "we placed suggestion boxes in each of the three schools where Mike played sports, (Sutton, Oxford, Northbridge) asking for a proper name for the store. We got 99 responses, which was his number in football, so it just seemed like an apt description to name it "Mike's Sporting Spirit" he said.
About the race itself, Ellsessar downplays his own involvement instead heaping praise on many of the volunteers that help out. "We couldn't do this run without the wonderful help of Amy Sullivan and Cheryl Bechunas" he said. "They've given so much of their time and effort, it would be impossible without them."
Race forms, routes and more information may be found at www.suttonschools.net