Over 300 people, including students, faculty and staff, gathered on Saturday morning for the first annual “Conor’s Run,” a charity event to raise money for the Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS) Foundation.
The run was organized in memory of Williamstown resident Conor Archibald, who passed away on Jan. 1, 2001 as a result of TTTS before he was even able to celebrate his fourth birthday.
A disease of the placenta that only affects identical twins, TTTS takes the lives of 4,000 American babies each year. It can be easily detected by ultrasounds and can even be stopped if diagnosed early enough, but unfortunately the condition is often overlooked because it is relatively unknown. One of the goals of the TTTS Foundation is to promote awareness.
Conor’s mother, Bernadette Archibald, who organized the run with the help of her husband Dave, summed up her overall feelings about the run. “All we did was throw a pebble in the pond and now we are watching how the ripples are just taking over! It has turned out to be a far more successful event than we planned or imagined. Conor’s Run will definitely make a huge impact on the TTTS Foundation, education, and awareness of this horrible syndrome,” she said.
This was not the first time that Williams College was associated with the TTTS Foundation. President Schapiro donated money to the cause prior to the run.
Multicultural Center (MCC) program assistant Marcela Peacock, a friend of the Archibald’s, decided to serve as a liaison between the family and the College. She helped to get the word out about the run through posters, campus wide e-mail and even by contacting sets of twins attending the College.
She also decided to go through the chaplain’s office, which helped to sponsor the community service event. The run is an important event because otherwise people would not know about TTTS until it affected one of their loved ones,” Peacock said. Run participants donated a small fee in order to take part in Saturday’s event. They gathered just before 9:00 a.m. at Poker Flats to the sound of bagpipes playing. The runners included many Williamstown residents as well as people from the surrounding communities and even some students from other colleges such as Dartmouth. Acting Governor Jane Swift, herself a mother of twins, was among those present. All participants had the option of either taking part in the 3.1-mile race or a one-mile walk.
Many members of the College community were present on Saturday morning. Ron Gallagher from the Office of Career Counseling served as the master of ceremonies for the event. Gallagher, a twin himself, was delighted by the spirit of all of the runners as well as with the overall success of the run. He said, “It’s only been eight months since Conor left us, yet his family’s timing in pulling off this monumental achievement was impeccable. In our time of need, like all efficient angels they came through with flying colors.”