Saratogans unite to fight lung cancer and remember beloved citizen

October 4, 2010 — by Priyanka Nookala

The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation sponsored the first ever Stride for Susie on Sept. 1 at Saratoga High School. More than 350 participants walked a distance of 5k or 10k in memory of Susie Vedantham Nagpal, a Saratoga councilwoman and SHS parent.

Nagpal passed away from lung cancer last May at age 46, even though she was a nonsmoker.

Assistant principal Brian Safine said the event was a positive way to bring attention to cancer treatment and research.

Organizers hoped to raise $25,000, but Stride for Susie surpassed this ambitious goal, raising a whopping $50,000 for the fight against lung cancer.

“I attribute the success of the event to Susie. She brought everyone together from all walks of life,” said Nagpal’s sister Jayshree Ullal.
Participants walked two different routes for this cause. The 10k went through Saratoga Avenue , Allendale Avenue and wound into Fruitvale Avenue, while the 5k just went through Saratoga Avenue and ended on Fruitvale. Both routes began at SHS and ended on Saratoga Los Gatos Road where an after-stride celebration took place in the Saratoga Village.

“To see how many people that Mrs. Nagpal had affected was touching, and it was just good to see Saratoga community come together,” said sophomore Hannah Johnson, a runner in the 5k.

Nagpal’s niece Tarini Ullal, a key organizer and part of team SITA which was the largest contributor of funds, was amazed to see how many people attended the event.

“The success of the event greatly exceeded our expectations. I also thoroughly enjoyed running the 10-K route. It had sentimental value for me because the starting point was my old high school, Saratoga High. It also passed by my aunt’s house as an inspiration point,” said Tarini Ullal.
Ashima Shankar, SHS parent and 10k participant, felt that the success of the event was due to the support and kindness of the Saratoga community.

“It was really heartwarming to see the community come together for such a great cause, and most importantly we raised a lot of funds,” said Shankar.
During the celebration, representatives from the Bonnie J.Addario Lung Cancer Foundation spoke about the amount of money raised by the Stride for Susie event.

Family members who were the driving force behind this event also spoke, talking about what it meant to them to see the community support this cause.
Said Tarini Ullal, “I felt that every participant was part of a greater and more important team, a team that will tirelessly work together to promote awareness and battle against lung cancer. So far, there is no cure for cancer, but that is no reason to give up the fight.”

4 views this week