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Greeley Football Walks for Chappaqua Charity

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – Typically on the receiving end of support from the community, Horace Greeley football players decided to return the favor on Sunday morning during a walk-a-thon for Making Headway .

In preparation of the two-hour walk-a-thon at Horace Greeley High School, football players collected almost $8,000 in pledges for the nonprofit, Chappaqua-based organization, which assists in the recovery of children with brain and spinal cord tumors.

“The players go out in advance and they collect pledges from people and then they show up on the day of the walk-a-thon and they spend a couple hours walking around the track,” said Kathy Rothschild, the event’s organizer.

The event was started in 2007 by “football mom” Steffi Green as part of the Greeley Gridiron Club. Participation is usually reserved for varsity and junior varsity teams, however, middle school and youth clubs were also invited to walk for the first time this year.

Appreciative of the support, Edward Manley, president and founder of Making Headway, thanked the players by baking dozens of cupcakes with his wife the night before.

“We make a great team. She bakes the cupcakes, then I put the icing on, and then she does the decorations,” said Manley.

Players were also treated to donuts and breakfast pizza, topped with bacon and eggs.

Manley started the foundation in 1996 after his 14-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor. After she survived, Manley, knowing the pain of the recovery process, said he decided he wanted to assist others suffering through similar situations.

“We went through that very difficult time and we decided then to help other parents,” Manley said.

Along with funding for research, the organization also provides massage therapy, yoga, art room supplies and other types of treatment.

“When the children are released from care, we also give them educational remediation,” said Catherine Lepone, director of development. “So if they need to go back to school and they’re having difficulty, we’ll help them with that.”

Later in the year, the players will make a trip to a Making Headway facility to visit with the recovering children.

"They go in their football jerseys and they just hang out with these kids and play with them," said Rothschild. "That’s a really good experience for the kids and for the players. It really opens the players’ eyes."

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