Millis Teen to Host 5K Run

Jane Lebak
Family Touched by Tragedy Reaches Out to Give Back to Others
Issue Date: 
April, 2019
Article Body: 

On April 7th at 11 a.m., dozens of runners will meet at Oak Grove Park in support of a local family.
When Jessie Krauss, a Millis High School senior, had to choose her senior year project, the answer was obvious. “I knew I wanted to do something that involves fundraising for frontotemporal dementia.”
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a specific kind of dementia resulting from deterioration in the temporal and frontal lobes of the brain. These areas specifically impact emotion, language, and decision-making. It strikes mostly those in their fifties, and in people under age 60, FTD is the most common cause of dementia. Currently there is no cure.
In 2017, Krauss’s father was diagnosed with FTD, an unbelievable blow to the family. Krauss says, “Our Dad was basically our supporter, and he knew how to do everything around the house. Then so quickly, he became so dependent on us and we were the ones caring for him. The father we idolized so much was being taken away from us.”
Through this dark time, Jessie Krauss continued studying at Millis High School and running with the track team. In her senior year, she became one of the captains of the Varsity Soccer team and received the NESDEC Award in November, 2018.
Then she began her senior project. “I wanted to combine the passion for running and a fundraiser. I wanted it to be something where I could bring everyone together to raise awareness and raise money for the cause.”
The running part would be organizing a 5K run/walk race. The fundraising would be for Mass General’s FTD unit.
Because her father’s diagnosis and care had taken place through Mass General’s FTD unit, Jessie and her family had become familiar with their work. “This includes research on the brain, testing out medicines, or even support groups for caregivers,” says Krauss.
Krauss had run races before, but never organized one. “There were so many unknowns,” she says, starting with the date, the location, and the route. Krauss coordinated the details between Officer Bickford, MGH’s fundraising team, and Oak Grove Park where the race will be run on the trails. She arranged babysitting for participants as well as prizes for the top finishers. “Now I have to get the permits. There’s just a lot of planning.”
The race will use the trails at Oak Grove. Participants can run or walk the route, or do a combination of both. Five kilometers is 3.1 miles.
As happens with most race-planners, Krauss probably will be too busy on race day to run. “Some friends are going to run it,” she says, “but some would rather be a volunteer.”
Mass General’s fundraising coordinators set a goal of $5,000, although at first Krauss thought that was unreasonable. “When I hit $1,000 after three days, I was so surprised,” she says. By mid-March, she’d raised three thousand dollars, and it appears that by race day, she might exceed her goal. Krauss predicts fifty to sixty runners on race day.
The monetary donations are an extension of the concern Krauss’s family has received from the Millis community in general. “I’ve been so surprised by the support our family has gotten,” she says. “All the Moms got together and set up meal plans. That takes the stress off our mom. People would just bring over a meal, even when they don’t understand the full extent of what we’re going through.”
She adds, “This project wouldn’t even be possible without the amount of support I’ve gotten. It’s important for the community to participate for my project to even be a thing.”
Race registration is $20 per participant, but individuals can donate more whether or not they choose to run.
The race registration form is available at but participants can register on race day as well.
Anyone wishing to run a 5K should google Couch To 5K for a beginning running program.