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Friends issue challenge: Run for Quogue crash survivor's recovery

Ryan Kiess, who was killed in a July

Ryan Kiess, who was killed in a July crash in Quogue, above in 2018 with Brianna Maglio, the sole survivor of the collision who remains hospitalized in critical condition. Credit: Conor Carey

Friends of Brianna M. Maglio — the sole survivor of a July head-on wreck in Quogue that killed five people — have started a running challenge to raise money for her medical care.

Participants run, or walk, for a goal of 80 miles during September, and are encouraged to donate $80 to "Miles for Bri."

Why 80?

It’s the sum of 44, 32, and 4, the lacrosse numbers that three of those killed, Ryan Kiess, James Farrell Jr. and Michael Farrell, wore, respectively, when they played lacrosse at Manhasset High School. Maglio, 25, who remains hospitalized in critical condition, and Kiess, also 25, were dating.

The fundraiser is expected to pull in about $130,000 from more than 1,700 runners.

"I think it’s just the constant feeling of knowing that if Ryan were here and Bri was in this situation, he would be doing absolutely everything and anything he could to help her in any way because he loved her so much," said Conor Carey, 25, one of several friends of Maglio, Kiess and the Farrell brothers helping organize the fundraiser.

"So it’s up to all of us to be there for her and support her anyway we can just like Ryan would’ve wanted," Carey said.

The crash occurred about 11:15 p.m. on July 24 when a Nissan Maxima driven west by Justin B. Mendez, 22, of Shirley, crossed the centerline along a curve on Montauk Highway in Quogue and hit an eastbound Uber, a Toyota Prius, head on, police said at the time.

Mendez and Farhan Zahid, 32, of Bay Shore, the Uber driver and a married father of three, were also killed in the crash.

The fundraising challenge to benefit Maglio is open to the public.

"So the goal behind the fundraiser is that anyone can join to run, with the idea that whoever runs will also be donating," Carey said.

Kurt Kiess, Ryan’s father, participated in the challenge and said he finished his 80 miles Saturday.

"These young adults have learned to change their pain of loss to loving and caring for others," Kiess said in a text message. "They are doing this to honor their friends, Ryan, James and Michael. That is real love!"

Kiess said he walked with a group of friends every day at 5 a.m.

Challenge participants can post or upload a story to Instagram through @miles_for_bri, according to Carey. They can sign up at 44 + 32 + 4 Miles for Bri.

"Also, many of us have challenged family or friends or co-workers to donate a dollar for each mile we run throughout the month of September, which helps to push the runners to run more to raise more money," he said.

Carey, an accountant with PwC in Manhattan, attended the University of Scranton with Maglio and Ryan Kiess. He lived with Kiess, "so we were all very close."

Also among those behind the effort are Blaise Buffalino, Kieran Pues and others.

"We have people on all down the East Coast, the West coast, and abroad in Europe posting their runs to get people to donate," he said.

And on Sunday, the organizers are joining a run to raise even more money — for one of Kiess’ heroes, Manhasset’s Jimmy Regan, a Chaminade High School and Duke graduate who enlisted in the Army and died in Iraq in 2007.

A 5K in Regan’s honor — the Sgt. James J. Regan Memorial - Army Ranger Lead The Way Fund — is Sunday too.

"He was a guy all kids in Manhasset our age looked up to," Carey said.

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