Virtual Run for Jude 5K honors late TU nursing student, fundraises for Jude Jawhar scholarship

By: Meghan Hudson, Editor-in-Chief 
Illustration by Macy Dowla, Photo Editor
Portrait of Jude Jawhar by Sara Good Chanmugam

The first annual Run for Jude 5K is set to take place April 2 through April 4 in honor of former Towson University (TU) student Jude Jawhar who died of Osteosarcoma in 2018.

Jawhar was an aspiring nursing student and described by friends to be an outgoing and active person. Shortly after she passed away, the Jude Jawhar Scholarship for General Nursing was created by the Jawhar family to support nursing students.

“This race is in honor of Jude Jawhar who battled Osteosarcoma for four years before she passed away at the age of 18,” the event’s Instagram reads. “Although Jude spent a majority of her teen years in the hospital going through multiple surgeries and chemotherapy treatments, she was an extremely motivated individual who had hopes of becoming a nurse in order to help other children who may go through something similar.”

Profits from the race will be split evenly between the Jude Jawhar Scholarship for General Nursing and pediatric oncology research at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

“She loved to play softball, we played softball together, and she loved to swim and just be really active,” said Alex Marasa, coordinator and social media manager for the event, and high school best friend of Jawhar. “So that’s also where the run and walk for Jude 5K part of it came in.”

The race will begin on April 2 in correspondence with Jawhar’s birthday.

“We wanted to keep it virtual this year obviously because of COVID-19, but hopefully in the future we’ll be able to hold it in-person and all in one location,” Marasa said. “But, this is how we’re doing it this year and it’s $35 to register to get a t-shirt, we have raffles and then you get to participate from wherever you are.”

Raffles prizes will be various themed baskets, each in honor of things Jude liked to do.

The first recipient announced for the Jude Jawhar scholarship is TU nursing student Emily Widmaier.

“This scholarship has helped reduce a lot of my stress related to student loans and the cost of school,” Widmaier said. “This is a big burden for most people, and it was really nice to feel a little bit more secure.”

High school friends of Jawhar Sara Chernikoff and Sara Perrotti both worked to organize the race.

“Even if you were a stranger, she made you feel very welcomed and loved, and she lit up every room she was in,” Chernikoff said.

Perrotti shared the same sentiment that Jude was a presence to be felt by all.

“She led with the love, compassion, energy, and kindness she brought to every single room she was in,” Perrotti said. “We are running to carry on her loving spirit, and we encourage everyone to run with us and honor Jude.”

According to Marasa, their team recently opened a direct donation page for anyone interested in making a donation directly to the Jude Jawhar Scholarship. This will allow for the Jawhar family to continue to provide funds to more nursing students.

“If you’re not able to run or walk or contribute the $35 for the run, no donation amount is too small,” Marasa said. “If you’re not able to donate, just lead with Jude’s love and spirit and that’s enough to honor her.”

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