By Jan Gottesman Managing Editor
The 5K walk/race was Oct. 14 at 10 am., starting and ending at Clinton Middle School.
Pallotta, 23, grew up in Sterling, but like her father and older sister, went to Clinton High School. She now works in special education with the Worcester Public Schools.
"I chose to do a 5k walk/run just as a way to get everyone together for a good cause," she said, "and show support."
This is her first time organizing something like this. She is doing it in memory of her grandfather, Philip Hatch Jr., from Portland, Maine.
"My grandfather was 'number one' in my family's lives and losing him on Dec. 16, 2017, after his battle with pancreatic cancer, has taken a huge toll on our family and left this huge gap that we will never be able to fill," Pallotta aid. "Doing this race was a way of keeping his spirit alive and keeping him close to us, even if is he gone. My grandfather would be so proud and happy to see this fundraising event because he always put others before himself. He always wanted what was best for everyone around him, especially his family."
Her grandfather was a lieutenant commander in the Navy, where he earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
"He was so very proud to be a Navy veteran. His whole life essentially he was constantly serving others. His country and and his family were what he taught us to be the most important thing in all our lives," Pallotta said. "And he instilled these values within all of us. He has 11 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren and we were my grandfather's number one priority. He was at every single event for all of us he never missed a second. I'm one of seven girls and my mom - his daughter - was someone he was so proud of and just could never believe how my mom had 'seven girls.' He loved it.
"If I had to describe my grandfather, who we all called 'Meik,' in one word it would be selfless," she added. "He gave and gave and never once asked for anything in return. He passed away a year after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and doing this race was not only a way of keeping his spirits alive, but a way to try and make a difference for anyone else who has lost a loved one to this horrible disease. My grandfather was a doer. He would love the fact that I'm organizing a race to try and make a difference."
"No one should have to feel this emptiness me and my family have felt without my grandfather the past year. I keep referring to him as my 'grandfather,' but he was so much more," she said. "He was a best friend, a confidante, someone who could make you laugh until your face turned blue;, he was an amazing father to my mom (Margery Hatch Pallotta) and uncle (Danny Hatch). He was selfless, he was kind, he was strong and he was - of all a things - a family man. Even if people didn't know my grandfather, I believe people will agree that someone with such a legacy needs to be remembered and his spirit needs to be kept alive."
In addition to T-shirts for runners, a brunch will follow the race at Quinn's Pub, in Worcester.
"We are trying to get as many people as possible," Pallotta said.
If you couldn't make the race, and want to help, make a donation to: https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/finn-out-for-pancreatic-cancer.