Lori Muscarella lost her husband Paul to glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer, almost three years ago.
“It was the worst nightmare,” said Muscarella, 45, of Garden City. “Sometimes, Paul didn’t know who I was. My husband’s tumor was inoperable.”
She said there isn’t a day that goes by that she doesn’t think about her late husband. “We were married for 16 years. Paul was an incredible husband and dad,” she said.
They have four children – Jenna, 18, Natalie, 17, Matthew, 15 and Diana, 11.
Paul Muscarella, an attorney in Garden City, was diagnosed in November 2009 and died on October 11, 2010.
Knowing firsthand the devastation brain cancer can cause, Muscarella knew she had to support the 3rd annual Run for Rob 5K Run/Walk hosted by Voices Against Brain Cancer, an organization that strives to find a cure and raise awareness about brain cancer.
The event took place Sunday morning at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow and raised more than $100,000 to benefit Voices Against Brain Cancer. The money was raised through sponsors and donations.
At the event, the Muscarella family received the 2013 Vision of Hope Award, given for diligence toward raising awareness of the disease and honoring the memory of Paul Muscarella.
Run for Rob was created in honor of Dr. Robert Bernstein, an obstetrician/gynecologist from Brookville who died from brain cancer in 2010.
Bernstein’s wife Roz Bernstein, 60, recalled the devastation she felt watching her husband suffer from brain cancer.
“He couldn’t speak. He couldn’t read. He had seizures. It was horrible,” said the Manhattan resident. “He was diagnosed on June 8, 2009 and died on June 8, 2010.”
A Voices Against Brain Cancer board member, Roz Bernstein is dedicated to raising awareness about the disease.
Her daughter Sarah, 25, of Manhattan, said she was proud to run the 5K in her father’s honor.
“This day captures my father’s spirit,” Sarah Bernstein said. “He was a great man. He was a runner. I am a runner. This day means a lot because we get to give support to one another.”
Sarah Bernstein plans to run in the ING New York City Marathon in November in her father’s honor.
There were close to 750 runners and walkers at Sunday’s event. The first place male and female runners were Scott Selltitz, 20, of Wantagh, with a time of 18:40 and Shari Klarfeld, 32, of Plainview, with a time of 19:51.
Darren Grant, Voices Against Brain Cancer executive director, said the organization is making strides to find a cure for the debilitating disease.
“VABC is always working on cutting edge treatments and has been able to extend life expectancies,” he said. “Today is not only about raising money, it’s also about seeing families supporting each other.”
Lori Muscarella plans to create a walk/run similar to Run for Rob for her late husband Paul by next year.
“I want there to be a cure for brain cancer,” she said. “It is extremely painful thing to watch someone you love go through it.”