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St. John’s law student fund-raises for a cure

TimesLedger Newspapers

Megan Quail is no stranger to fund-raising for the fight against cancer.

The Astoria resident lost a friend to cancer five years ago when she was 19, and since then she has jumped into marathons and various other fund-raisers as a way to deal with his death and work through her grief.

One of her largest undertakings was to run a half-marathon as an undergraduate student with 6,000 other people in order to help raise the collective goal of $400,000 for cancer research.

Now, as a third-year law student at St. John’s University, she is about to attempt one of her most ambitious goals yet: to raise $100,000 for cancer research in the next 10 weeks.

“For me individually this is the biggest amount I’ve ever sought to fund-raise,” she said.

Quail is undertaking the effort as part of her competition in the third annual Leukemia and Lymphoma Society New York Chapter’s Man and Woman of the Year Campaign. She was nominated along with 16 others from all walks of life to take part.

The money they raise will not only go to blood cancer research, but to covering patient expenses such as medication and testing, free educational materials, counseling programs and other types of assistance.

The competition this year is in honor of Francesco Galvano, a 13-year-old from Pearl River, N.Y., who was diagnosed with leukemia two years ago and has been undergoing treatment.

Nominees who raise the most money will be named Man or Woman of the Year, but Quail said the real purpose of the event is not so much about the competition.

“It’s really about raising the most money and helping the other candidates do well also,” she said, pointing out that all the nominees see the larger purpose as fighting cancer. “We all share the same passion.”

As part of Quail’s fund-raising efforts, she is organizing a number of events, including a fashion show in Manhattan May 11 that will feature dancing, raffles and an auction. Other events, such as a luncheon honoring people who have been affected by cancer and a 5K walk/run, will take place in Orangeburg, N.Y., and Pearl River.

All of the nominees’ efforts will culminate in a grand finale gala June 6, when the winner will be named.

Quail said she is inspired in her work to fight cancer by her friend, Joe Pennisi, who died in 2008 from bone cancer after a three-year battle.

“He was such an inspirational kid,” she said, adding that after his diagnosis he never complained and continued to go to school and play hockey, which was his passion.

“It’s something that’s very Joe-like, to not give up,” she said.

Reach reporter Karen Frantz by e-mail at kfrantz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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