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Glen Cove woman to run marathons to aid veterans, families

Eva Casale, of Glen Cove, will run seven

Eva Casale, of Glen Cove, will run seven marathons in seven days to raise money for veterans, beginning April 2, 2016. Credit: Michael Gadaleta

A Glen Cove woman is attempting to run seven marathons in seven days — covering 183.4 miles — to raise money for programs supporting veterans and their families.

Eva Casale, an experienced long-distance runner, plans to run the marathons in locations across Long Island, beginning April 2. Each 26.2-mile run will be held in the community of a Suffolk County service member who was killed in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan.

“I realized about 10 years ago that I had this ability to run long distances that can be leveraged to bring awareness and raise money for charities and causes that I care about,” said Casale, vice president of information technology at Suffolk Federal Credit Union. “Suffolk County has one of the largest military populations in New York State, and I think it’s important to support our veterans and honor those that have fallen.”

Casale, 50, will begin each marathon at a different credit union branch and will race past the homes and schools of the fallen service members.

Diana Bonacasa, the mother of Louis Bonacasa, an airman who was killed by a suicide bomber during his fourth tour in the Middle East last December, plans to run part of the marathon with Casale.

“I’m running because we want to continue to help the veterans,” said Bonacasa, of Manorville. “It’s what Louis would have done. He was so selfless and put everyone before himself.”

People are invited to join Casale in the last seven miles of each marathon. Donations can be made via her website, Participants who donate $50 or more will receive a T-shirt and medal provided by the credit union, Casale’s sponsor.

All the funds raised by Casale will go to Hope For The Warriors, a national nonprofit that provides transition support, health and wellness resources, and other assistance for veterans, existing service members and their families.

Casale has run 54 marathons since 2006 and has raised more than $200,000 for charity.

In 2014, Casale ran seven marathons in seven days, raising nearly $30,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The following year she raised another $75,000 in a three-day, 150-mile run from Manhattan to Montauk, Casale said.

With the help of the community, Casale says she hopes to raise $100,000 for Hope For The Warriors.

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