Bits & Bytes: Race against time; Texas writer headin’ north

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By Friday, Oct 10 News

Great Barrington — Don’t stay out too late Saturday night. Otherwise, you won’t be able to get up Sunday morning to run for some fellow humans who really need it — those with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Charley’s Fund will hold its Race Against Time to treat and end this most common and aggressive form of MD. The relay will be held at Monument Mountain Regional High School at 10 a.m. on Sunday (Oct. 12).

Since its inaugural run in New York City in 2010, the Race Against Time has raised more than $450,000 for Charley’s Fund, named for Charley Seckler of Alford, who was diagnosed with the condition in 2004. In 2013, when a group of Great Barrington runners were unable to make the trip to New York, Kim Cormier, a language arts teacher at Monument Valley Middle School, decided to organize an adjunct event right here in the Berkshires. The local race raised $5,000 for the fund. This year’s goal is to double that number by reaching out to more prospective runners and sponsors throughout southern Berkshire County.

“We’ve had wonderful support for our past fundraising events in the Berkshires,” said Tracy Seckler, Chief Executive Officer of Charley’s Fund and Charley’s mom, “and we’re looking forward to introducing ourselves to a whole new set of people.”

Duchenne muscular dystrophy affects approximately 30,000 people in the United States, and several hundred thousand children worldwide. It is a dire prognosis for Charley: “Unless a cure or treatment for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is found,” say Tracy and Benjamin Seckler, “Charley will lose his ability to walk by adolescence, and subsequently lose all muscle function. Like all boys with Duchenne, he will die from respiratory or heart failure in his late teens or early twenties.”

But Charley’s Fund is working “against time” for treatments and a cure. The nonprofit has poured $25 million into medical research, including clinical trials for children with Duchenne. Charley’s Fund was founded in 2004 by Charley’s parents.

The race will be set up as a relay (9 laps of 1.5 miles each). The relay teams, which can range in size from 2 to 9 members, are encouraged to have fun with team names, slogans, and accessories. Local businesses and groups of friends are encouraged to organize their teams and to start a fall tradition of running to raise money for a great cause. Prizes will be awarded for money raised, the fastest times, creativity and overall silliness.

“We can’t wait to see what people come up with!” said Kim Cormier. There is no cost to register. For more details about the event, and to register, go to http://www.firstgiving.com/charleysfund/ragtgb

To learn more, go to http://www.charleysfund.org

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Houston author DJ Thielke named

Stone Court Writer-in Residence

D. J. Thielke

DJ Thielke

 

Stockbridge — DJ Thielke of Houston, Texas, has been awarded the Stone Court Writer-In-Residence Program’s inaugural residency. Thielke is the author of 15 published short stories, two of which have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She has also been a Flannery O’Connor Short Fiction Award finalist.

The Stone Court Writer-In-Residence Program, founded this year, is co-sponsored by the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and the Berkshire Waldorf High School.

The Stone Court Writer-In-Residence Program offers two twelve-week residencies each year, one beginning in September and one beginning in February, to provide emerging writers with the freedom, time and material support to concentrate on their creative work. Established to bring young writers who represent diverse American voices — particularly those from other regions of the United States — to the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts, the Stone Count Writer-in-Residence Program also offers the visiting writer an opportunity to contribute to the local community by giving public readings and leading a creative writing “master class” at the Berkshire Waldorf High School.

DJ Thielke’s work has appeared in journals such as Arts and Letters, Indiana Review, Cincinnati Review, Southern Humanities Review and the New Delta Review: Best of the Web. In addition, her plays have been produced at the Houston Fringe Festival and the Frenticore Fringe Festival. She currently serves as Assistant Editor of Narrative Magazine.

Thielke was raised in Houston, earned her Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing, Summa Cum Laude, from the University of Southern California in 2010 and her Master of Fine Arts from Vanderbilt University in 2013, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Nashville Review (2012-2013). For the past year, she has been a James C. McCreight Fiction Fellow at the University of Wisconsin.

“We were fortunate to receive a large number of excellent submissions for this residency,” David McCarthy, chairperson of the selection committee, noted. “Among them, DJ Thielke’s writing stood out to the entire committee, beautifully written and reflecting a maturity that impressed us all. She’ll be a wonderful new voice in our community.”

Waldorf High School Faculty Chairperson Dr. Stephen Sagarin added, “DJ Thielke and the Stone Court residency will allow our students to see beyond their lives in the Berkshires, get to know the minds and voices of those from different parts of the country and improve their skill in creative writing.”

Details about D.J. Thielke’s public reading will be available in the coming weeks at waldorfhigh.org.


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