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“Yes – Casey Feldman Was My Daughter ” – Running to End Distracted Driving

Marilyn Wellnitz (L), Joel Feldman, David Moos and Karissa Tuasoncvfollowing the Philadelphia race

Marilyn Wellnitz (L), Joel Feldman, David Moos and Karissa Tuason following the Philadelphia race

As I waited near the starting line about to run my 4th race in the Rock n Roll Marathon series I was asked by another runner standing behind me “Did you know Casey Feldman?”  He had read the back of my bright pink running shirt and saw that Casey was killed by a distracted driver and that I was running in her memory. When I told him that Casey was my daughter he looked stunned, teared up and grabbed me in a powerful hug. “I have a 20 year old daughter and I can’t imagine losing her,” he said. I gave him the pink wristband that I was wearing .

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The Schmidt family in Philadelphia following Elizabeth’s successful completion of the race

I was running to remember Casey and to raise funds so that our work to educate teens and adults about distracted driving could expand. Travelers Insurance Company graciously partnered with us and donated more than $16,000 to our Foundation, $100 per mile run by me and 2 to 3 other runners for each of the 4 races. It is part of their “My Drive Comes From” campaign. In Chicago I was joined by my niece Tess Feldman and her fiancée Michael Cornfeld, and in Virginia Beach by Virginia Wesleyan cross country legendary alums, Michelle Bryceland and David Kidd, as well as Laura Carney, whose father Mick was killed by a distracted driver.  In Philadelphia, West Chester University’s Phi Sigma Pi alums,  Marilyn Wellnitz and  Vincent Meyers,  as well as Danielle Gibson, Danielle Dizebba, David Moos, Karissa Tuason and Elizabeth Schmidt donned their pink shirts to run with us.              .

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Tess Feldman and Michael Cornfield getting cooled off after the race in Chicago

In Las Vegas  we were thrilled to be joined by members of the Las Vegas Runners Club, Suzi Hanson, Tami Stefanatos and Melissa Farrell, as well as Charles Apprendi of Vineland, NJ, a high school classmate of Dianne’s whom she had not seen in 43 years.

All of these runners were so kind and supportive and eager to run in Casey’s memory. And most of the runners on our EndDD.org team told me that as a result of learning about Casey they had changed the way they drive and had talked to their friends and family about driving distraction-free. Similarly, many other runners at the races , total strangers, after learning about Casey, acknowledged that they needed to drive safer for themselves and those they loved. Runners are an incredible community and the ability to tell Casey’s story to save lives through this new community is a bonus from the Travelers  partnership.

Joel Feldman receives the check for EndDD.org from Gary Griffin, Travelers Insurance Company in Las Vegas

Joel Feldman receives the check for EndDD.org from Gary Griffin, Travelers Insurance Company in Las Vegas

Our thanks to Travelers Insurance Company, our EndDDD.org runners and all who took the time to learn Casey’s  story. I am grateful for the support of my law firm, Anapol Weiss, for making it possible for me to work so hard saving lives in Casey’s memory. And, many thanks to that anonymous Las Vegas runner who gave me that much needed hug before the race.

Related Links:

Photos from the 4 races

KLAS Las Vegas TV Coverage of the Las Vegas Half Marathon,  Nov. 14, 2015

CBS Philly TV News Coverage about EndDD.org and the Philadelphia Half Marathon, Oct. 28, 2015

In His Daughter’s Memory, Joel Feldman Runs to Stop Distracted Driving–  Competitor Magazine, By Don Norcross, Oct. 5, 2015

“I was fighting back tears when I crossed the finish line. I was missing Casey” – The Virginia Beach Rock n Roll Half Marathon, EndDD.org, By Joel Feldman, Sept. 14, 2015

Running for a cause at Virginia Beach Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, The Virginia Pilot, By Lee Toliver, Sept 7, 2015

Kidd and Bryceland to Race for a Cause in Rock and Roll Half Marathon, Virginia Wesleyan College, Sept. 3, 2015

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Laura Carney after the Va Beach race

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Tami Stefanatos (R) before the Las Vegas race

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Marilyn Wellnitz with the Philadelphia Art Museum in the backgound

Members of Joel's law firm offering their support the day before the Philly race

Members of Joel’s law firm, Anapol Weiss, offering their support the day before the Philly race

Joel & Casey, Dec. 2008 Joel & Casey, Dec. 2008
*Joel Feldman is the father of the late Casey Feldman and founder of the Casey Feldman Foundation and its sponsored project, EndDD.org. He has been a practicing attorney for 34 years and a shareholder in the law firm of Anapol Schwartz in Philadelphia. He received a masters in counseling in 2013 and speaks throughout the U.S. and Canada to teens and adults, changing attitudes and behaviors through the science based, End Distracted Driving program. Joel also provides death notification training to law enforcement and the medical community. Joel can be reached at Info@EndDD.org.