The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Runner to honor two from K.G.
A former local woman who lives in Oahu will run in the Boston Marathon next month to honor two King George County residents and their battle against terminal illnesses.
Michele Tritt, 42, grew up in the Fredericksburg area and lived in King George County for 10 years, until last July. That’s when she and her husband, Ben, moved to Hawaii, where he works as a civilian doing naval research.
While in King George, she got to know two people, Wesley Berry and the late Diane Hunt, and came to admire the way they faced cancer and leukemia.
Wesley, who just turned 18, was diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 12. Throughout his treatments, he’s headed a “Win 4 Wesley” team to raise money for research.
The Tritts are good friends with Wesley’s parents, Paula and Kevin, and the Berrys are the godparents of the Tritts’ son, Eli.
“Paula and Kevin’s faith has been an inspiration to me, and Wesley is the ultimate picture of a marathoner,” Michele Tritt said in an email. “His heart is determined to push on through many obstacles.”
Wesley and family have dealt with many ups and downs since his diagnosis, including the discovery of new tumors. He’s undergoing chemotherapy with an experimental drug and learned recently that the latest growth is shrinking.
Tritt knew Diane Hunt when Tritt coached Hunt’s three sons—David, Matthew and Stephen—in a running club.
“Diane was an avid volunteer,” Tritt said. “I wear a running jacket she gave me to remind me of her giving spirit and her fight.”
Hunt was 49 when she died of acute myeloid leukemia in November 2011. “Diane’s fight was short and unexpected,” Tritt said.
Tritt will run the Boston Marathon on April 15 in honor of Wesley and in memory of Hunt. It will be her fourth marathon, and she hopes to raise $5,000 total, or $2,500 for each person’s charity.
Wesley’s chosen group is Believe in Tomorrow Children’s Foundation, which provides housing and respite services to critically ill children and their families.
For Hunt, Tritt is raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Since she committed to running the marathon, Tritt has lost a family friend to leukemia and another has been diagnosed.
She wants to help others while doing an activity she enjoys.
“The Boston Marathon was a goal, but I wanted it to be more than just all about me,” Tritt said. “I wanted to raise awareness for cancer, honor some amazing people, and if I can do this through running, then I am blessed.”
To donate to Wesley’s charity, go to FirstGiv ing.com and search for Michele Tritt. The same can be done for Hunt’s charity, at teamintraining.org.
Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425