Running the Toronto Marathon in Memory of Perry Budovitch Z"L
I knew Perry Budovitch for one and a half years, maybe two years tops. We would see each other in the morning for prayer at Shul. He would be there every day to say Kaddish in memory of his late father. We wouldn’t talk much but Perry would always give me a warm smile and a wave. These were very minor interactions but they were enough for me to realize just how kind of a man he was.
But it wasn’t just me he was kind to. Perry loved the whole Jewish community of Thornhill. And the whole Jewish community loved him back.
It was in the summer of 2018 that I found out Perry had been fighting cancer for a while—just days after a beautiful Shabbat lunch at his and his wife, Anna’s, house. And with this discovery I felt incredibly sad. Sad because someone who I had grown fond of was battling a life-threatening disease.
But yet at the same time, I was profoundly inspired. Inspired because while Perry was carrying one of life’s greatest burdens, he remained committed to what he believed in. Day in and day out he would wake up early and go to Shul to pay his respects for his late father. Regardless of the weather outside and regardless of his pain inside there you could find him, in his accustomed spot at the back of the Shul with his tallit and tefillin on and a siddur in hand, and that gentle smile on his face.
It was December 24th when Perry passed away from pancreatic cancer. And although we had only known him for a short time, it was a bitter loss for the community. It was and still is tough to look back in Shul and expect to see him but instead find an empty seat.
The reason I am writing all this is because I wanted to do something in honour of Perry’s memory. I wanted to do something for Perry because although he didn’t know it, he had meant so much to me and the community, too.
I feel that running a marathon might be the perfect thing to do in his memory. You see, one thing I learned from Perry was how to be a strong and committed individual. I’m sure that there were days where Perry was so sick he could hardly get out of bed. But yet, he would get up and go to Shul to say Kaddish (and along the way be kind to all those he interacted with). While running a marathon, the only way to complete it is by having that strength and commitment. There will be stretches where I feel like my legs have turned to lead and I really want to give up. But I will remember the lessons I learned from Perry, dig deep, and keep going despite the pain.
And when I reach the finish line after 42 kilometers and 4 hours plus of running, it won’t just be me crossing it. It will be a person who was inspired by Perry.
But to tell you the truth, I am just one of many many people Perry inspired through his gentleness and kindness. And this run is just a tiny way how I can return the favour.
However, I need a little bit of help. I am raising money for the Canadian Cancer Society, a national and community-based charitable organization whose mission it is to eradicate cancer and enhance the quality of life of those who have it. With your help, we can get closer to curing cancer and making an impact in the lives of those fighting it now. Please consider donating.
Feel free to share this page with others so they can learn just a little bit about who Perry was.
The Toronto Marathon will take place on May 5th 2019 throughout the city. This will be my first time raising money for a cause through a marathon.