WARWICK, RHODE ISLAND – On Sunday, May 7, Warwick Public Schools art teacher Joe Belanger will run the Providence Marathon on behalf of Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island. As a Team Make-A-Wish member, Belanger’s goal is to raise $2500 to help grant wishes for local children with critical illnesses during the organization’s 40th anniversary year. This year, 19 runners will be participating on Team Make-A-Wish.
Belanger will be the very last runner to start the marathon. For every runner Belanger passes on the 26.2-mile route, the Integlia Family Foundation and Hill View Partners, both of Providence, will each donate $1 to Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Belanger has supported Make-A-Wish in many ways, including running on Team Make-A-Wish for the Boston Marathon and the ASICS Falmouth Road Race, through which he raised over $15,000 to make wishes come true. The Warwick art teacher has also hosted several art parties through the Wish Community program, which connects wish recipients and their families with one another through events, activities, and other opportunities. Outside of his work in the Warwick Public Schools, Belanger enjoys spending time with his family and dogs and his hobbies include cooking and wood and metal fabrication.
“I support Make-A-Wish because the service they provide can transform a wish recipient’s life as well as the people in their orbit,” says Belanger. “As an educator and a runner, the communities we support and that support us can be full of enormous amounts of positivity, and we all benefit from that.”
Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island is the official charity partner of the 2023 Providence Marathon and Half Marathon, in partnership with Ventures Endurance, part of Gannett's USA TODAY NETWORK. The race runs through historic downtown sites and offers scenic views of the Providence River and city neighborhoods.
“We are honored to be the official charity partner of such an iconic Providence event,” said Michael Vieira, Rhode Island Regional Director of Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island, “The funds raised through this opportunity will help us grant incredible and necessary wishes for Rhode Island children who deserve the hope and joy that a wish provides. The stories of the runners on Team Make-A-Wish are incredibly moving, and we’re thrilled to give them the platform to honor our mission by running. The makeup of the team is an example of the community involved with granting every wish.”
Before the race, wish recipient Kaylee Chambers, 17, of Woonsocket, RI, will perform the National Anthem. Kaylee, diagnosed with cancer, had her wish to meet singer Lauren Daigle granted in 2021. Wish recipient Miles Oliver, 8, of Newton, MA, will be the race’s “Kid Captain,” and his mother Colleen Brady will run the Half Marathon, in celebration of Miles’ last month of his two-year chemotherapy treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
To learn more about Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island and find out how you can get involved during its 40th anniversary year, visit massri.wish.org/40.
More information about the Providence Marathon and Half Marathon is available at https://providencemarathon.com.