Boy Racing Across The Nation For Pediatric Cancer Survivors Joining Long Island Fun Run

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Matteo Lambert

A 9-year-old Virginia boy who is running 32 different 5Ks in 15 states to raise money for kids with cancer will be participating in a race in Wantagh on Saturday.

Matteo Lambert, who made it his mission to run 100 miles in support of the charity Hopecam, which uses technology to connect kids in treatment to their classmates, will be among the runners hitting the road for the Purple Ribbon 5K Run/Walk this weekend.

“I love using my legs to support kids and my friends … with cancer,” Lambert told the Vancouver Sun after a recent race in Canada. “Last year I participated in my school’s 5K run, pretty unsure if I could finish. I ran a good time. So, I ran another 5K, and another one, and, well, you know how the story goes — I’m hooked.” 

Founded by a Binghamton University student in honor of his grandmother who passed away due to pancreatic cancer, proceeds of the Purple Ribbon 5K race will be donated to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

For each race Lambert is in, he “borrows” the superpowers of a Hopecam pediatric cancer survivor, a photo of whom will adorn the cape he wears while running. In the Purple Ribbon Run, Lambert will borrow the powers of  Benjamin, a leukemia patient from Baldwin Place in Westchester County. After each race, he sends the cape and any winning medals to the child. So far he’s raised $25,000 — far exceeding his $5,000 initial goal.

Lambert, who has made national headlines for his mission, most recently made news when he traveled last week to Chicago to meet his hero, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, a pediatric cancer survivor.

“You are an inspiration,” read a note that Lambert gave Rizzo on Friday, evoking the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. “Let’s help kids be kids. Give us a moonshot.” 

Rizzo, who hadn’t hit a homerun in more than a month, came up in the third inning while bases were loaded, the Cubs had two outs, and were trailing the Padres 0-3. Rizzo then hit a go-ahead grand slam out of Wrigley Field — his 20th homer of the year — paving the way for the Cubs to beat the Padres 6-5. Lambert then ran his 20th race on his mission — and his first 10K, finishing in the top 10 percent. 

Lambert also has upcoming races at Camden Yards on Aug. 3,  Kansas City’s Kaufmann Stadium on Aug. 10, Nats Park on Sept. 21, and several other races and events along the way.

The Purple Ribbon 5K Run/Walk will start and finish at Forest Lake Elementary School, 3100 Beltagh Ave. in Wantagh. For more information, visit purpleribbonrun.com Fee: $6-$30. 8 a.m. July 27.