Published on October 25, 2018

Color Run Raises Money for Cancer Patients

Photo of MidMichigan Medical Center - Alpena staff and Amy Martin presenting check to MidMichigan Health Foundation for Cancer Services.

Pictured from left to right – Chuck Sherwin, president, MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena; Darlene Polaski; Ann Diamond, director of fund development, MidMichigan Health Foundation; Dr. William Hitzelberger, oncology, and Amy Martin.

The Michael Polaski Memorial Foundation has made its mark by helping improve care and equipment for area residents receiving treatment at the Alpena Cancer Center. Funds raised from the first Mike Polaski 5K Color Run/Walk will help patients experience a more comfortable healing environment and have access to the latest technology available.

Mike Polaski passed away in December 2016 from pancreatic cancer. Wife Darlene remembers his last months as a special time. “We did everything he wanted to do,” she said. “Since then, I am mindful that we only have this moment and make the most of my time with friends and family.”

Mike and Darlene’s daughter, Amy Martin, was inspired to organize an event. “We knew immediately we wanted to host a 5K run/walk so that families could participate as a unit regardless of ability level and really come together around this event,” said Martin. Darlene participated and Mike’s mother, Blanche Polaski, 91, was also in attendance. Amy’s husband John helped man the registration table, son Mason did the timing and son Logan threw paint with a group of friends. It was indeed a family affair.

More than $3,100 was raised for the MidMichigan Health Foundation from the event. Funds use will go to the Cancer Center of MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena to help with equipment, education and patient comfort projects.

Ann Diamond, director of fund development, was impressed. “They just did it. No professionals were on hand, just members of the community with personal experience trying to make a difference,” Diamond said. “What a great example of how a small group with a passion can have a big impact.”

Martin and her family are already planning to do it again next autumn, as that was Mike’s favorite time of year. “We plan to offer color again next year as this is the only color run in the area,” said Martin, “I think everyone enjoyed it as much as we did.” They have established a Facebook page to keep the public informed.

Those interested in more information about donations to support cancer care at the Medical Center in Alpena may contact Ann Diamond of the MidMichigan Health Foundation at or (989) 356-7738.

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