Memorial run returns for second year

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Michael Litwinka of Naugatuck died in 2011 from an asthma attack. The 2nd annual Michael Litwinka Memorial Run/5K will be held May 12 in Naugatuck. –CONTRIBUTED
Michael Litwinka of Naugatuck died in 2011 from an asthma attack. The 2nd annual Michael Litwinka Memorial Run/5K will be held May 12 in Naugatuck. –CONTRIBUTED

NAUGATUCK — The American Lung Association is hosting the 2nd annual Michael Litwinka Memorial Run/5K.

Litwinka was 13 years old when he died at his Naugatuck home Sept. 21, 2011 from an asthma attack. He suffered from severe asthma all of his life.

“He was an outgoing child and immersed his life with kindness, love, and humor. Michael loved to laugh and he loved to make others laugh,” said Norlean Litwinka, Michael’s mother, in a statement.

According to a release issued by the association, Norlean Litwinka returned home from a parent-teacher conference to find her son suffering from the attack. She gave him CPR until a police officer arrived on the scene, who continued CPR. Life-saving efforts were continued by emergency medical personnel, to no avail.

Shortly after Michael’s death, Norlean decided to do something to honor her son’s memory and to raise awareness about the disease that claimed his life. She contacted her local American Lung Association and organized the run.

“I knew that I had to do something in Michael’s honor. The thought of a road race to increase asthma awareness and asthma research came to my mind. Michael loved running. He ran for the Vernon track club when we lived in Vernon. He would have run on the Naugatuck High School cross country team and Naugatuck High School track team,” said Norlean Litwinka in a letter to the American Lung Association.

The first run was held last May. Over 650 people attended the event and more than $11,000 was raised to benefit asthma research, education and advocacy.

This year’s run will be held May 12. Registration will begin at 12 p.m. at Cook’s Café, 203 Church St. The route covers 3.1 miles throughout the Naugatuck Valley. Cooks Café will host the after party and awards ceremony, immediately following the event.

Adult registration is $20 and increases to $25 on event day. Registration for students, ages 12 to 18, is $10 and children under the age of 12 pay $5 to be part of the Kid’s Fun Run, starting at 2 p.m. Incentive prizes are offered to those who raise more than $150.

Sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more information or to register, contact Lisa Wrubleski at lwrubleski@lungne.org or (860) 838-4377. A route map, as well as all event information, is available at www.LungNE.org/events.