Local woman does the half-marathon for special-education charity
The day after running 13 miles for charity, Nancy Miller was feeling a little achy but nevertheless triumphant.
"I finished in under three hours," said the Bergenfield resident of Sunday’s annual MORE magazine half-marathon in Central Park for women 40 and over. "I ran straight for the first 10 miles and then my knees started giving me trouble. I ended up walking a little, and running across the finish line."
Miller’s motivation was not just to shed pounds left over from her fifth pregnancy almost four years ago. She wanted to raise money for Jewish Education for Special Children, a Sunday program hosted at the Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey in River Edge. JESC caters to children with learning disabilities, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, or autism.
Nancy Miller rests after running the half-marathon. Photo by Rachel Kaminetzky
"My daughter Daniella, who is 8 years old, started having seizures at 7 weeks, and they were not controlled by medication till she was close to 4," Miller explained. "She walked at 4 years old, and is [still] non-verbal."
Daniella is schooled at a county-run autism program in Paramus, and she is visited weekly by teen volunteers from the Friends of Lubavitch-sponsored Friendship Club. She also has peer visitors from the community on Shabbat and participates in activities sponsored by Yachad, an organization for Jewish special-needs children and teens sponsored by the Orthodox Union, and by Kol Kehilasenu, a parent-founded program in Bergen County.
But JESC is the only available setting for Daniella’s formal Jewish education. "They do davening, learn about holidays and the Hebrew alphabet, and do music and hand-on-hand art projects," said Miller.
And though her daughter has not been able to talk about her Sunday school experiences over the past three years, "she’s always happy when she walks through the door. They’ve been so wonderful to her; I wanted to give back in some way."
Miller, recently divorced and working full time as a technology teacher at The Moriah School in Englewood, trained for the run by logging up to ‘5 miles a week for the past year and a half on a treadmill in the early morning hours.
"I feel like I’m in better shape than I was in my ‘0s," said the former Wall Street executive, who has lived in Bergenfield for 11 years and belongs to Cong. Beth Abraham.
"JESC is the only [area] program that provides special children with religious and spiritual instruction and believes all Jewish children should participate in the mainstream of Jewish life as much as possible," Miller wrote to family and friends in an e-mail seeking sponsors for her run.
After the race, Miller reported that she had raised close to $1,000 and was hoping to collect more. Per-mile tax-deductible contributions can be made through the Website www.firstgiving.com/nancymiller618
or by check (made out to JESC) to her home: 40 Wilbur Road, Bergenfield, NJ 076’1.