Over 135 runners, walkers, and bikers show support for the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
June 8, 2021 – On Saturday, June 5, the Richmond University Medical Center family came together to celebrate the conclusion of the inaugural Arnold Obey/RUMC 5K Run, Bike, Walk. Over 135 people participated in this year’s event, held virtually due to COVID-19 safety precautions. The event raised over $50,000 which will be used to purchase new, state-of-the-art equipment for the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
“This event would not have been possible if not for the love and support from Arnold’s family, especially his wife, Cheryl, and daughters Celisse, and Tonyamaree,” RUMC president and chief executive officer, Dr. Daniel J. Messina, said. “I know Arnold is looking down and smiling. We could not be more honored than to have Arnold’s name as part of our annual 5K run, which we hope will return to being an in-person event next year.” Dr. Messina, a running enthusiast himself who has run in nine New York City Marathons, also recalled memories of running in his last marathon, which was alongside Obey.
The annual RUMC event was officially renamed in honor of Obey, a long-time educator and pillar in the Staten Island’s sports community. Obey, who passed away last year, had a stand-out basketball career at Wagner College where he was a player and eventual assistant coach. He would also serve later in his career as the head basketball coach for the Staten Island Academy Tigers and as a college basketball referee.
Off the court, Obey was a local teacher, assistant principal, and principal. An avid runner, Obey ran track as a student first at DeWitt Clinton High School and then at Wagner College. His running career as an adult included nearly four decades of participating in the New York City Marathon. He ran in 38 consecutive New York City Marathons, an incredible achievement for any runner.
“My dad was called the ‘Mayor of Staten Island’ because of the amount of people who knew him and the impact he had on so many lives,” Obey’s daughter Tonyamaree Obey-McCombs, said when informed earlier this year that the hospital was officially renaming its run to honor her father. “He never had a bad thing to say about anyone and talked to everyone. God broke the mold when he created my dad, he was truly one of a kind.”
The Obey family was on hand as medals were presented to this year’s winning male and female runners. This year’s men’s top three runners were Gus Stanzione, with a time of 23:11; Brian Rowan at 24:55; and Nolan Nielsen at 26:23. The top three women’s finishers were Christine Crowdell at 25:00; Dana Koenigsberg at 27:24; and Obey’s daughter, Tonyamaree Obey-McCombs at 27:26.
Proceeds from this year’s virtual event will benefit RUMC’s NICU, including the purchase of new heart and blood pressure monitors, sterilization units, and warming stations. The warming stations provide heat to infant patients experiencing loss of body temperature. The warmers also provide oxygen and resuscitation therapy, record body weight, and measure heart rate and breathing levels.
RUMC’s NICU is a 25-bed Level III intensive care facility consisting of 19-intensive and intermediate-care beds and six continuing care beds. The unit specializes in the care of high-risk newborns, accommodating newborns as little as one pound. The NICU’s survival rate stands at over 99%, one of the highest outcomes in the country. For over five decades, RUMC’s NICU has cared for over 30,000 newborns.
On hand to also thank participants for their support was newly appointed chair of RUMC’s NICU, Dr. Santosh Parab; chair of the Department of Pediatrics, Dr. Brian McMahon; and Dr. Nirupa Harin, widow of Dr. Anantham Harin, who was chair of RUMC’s NICU for over 30 years. He passed away in 2010. They were joined by several families of “NICU graduates” who came to show their continuing support and appreciation for the NICU staff. Following the presentation of the medals which was held outside on the hospital campus, participants enjoyed pizza donated from Villa Monte, ice cream from Lickety Split, and donuts from Glazed and Confused.
The success of this year’s event would also not have been possible without the support of sponsors including Abbott Laboratories, Jay Chazanoff, Katherine and John Connors, Stephen Ferdinando of Richmond Plumbing and Heating, Gina Addeo of ADCO Electrical Corporation, Putney, Twombly, Hall & Hirson LLP, Wagner College Athletics, and the Evelyn L. Spiro School of Nursing at Wagner College.
The public can continue to show its support for RUMC’s NICU by making a donation at www.rumcsi.org/5K. The donation site will remain open until the end of 2021. The goal for this year is to raise $100,000 for the NICU.
Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC), is a not-for-profit healthcare provider serving the ethnically diverse community of Staten Island and its neighbors. We provide premier-quality patient care through a full spectrum of emergent, acute, primary, behavioral health and educational services. We do this in an environment that promotes the highest satisfaction among patients, families, physicians and staff. For more information call 1-718-818-1234 or visit www.rumcsi.org. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.