He walked the walk for TBBCF

Gales Ferry man completes TBBCF marathon two weeks early


John Felty crosses the “virtual” marathon finish line!

After a year of contemplating whether or not to walk the 26.2 miles of the Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation fundraiser marathon, and with some prodding from his friend Denise Nott, John Felty decided 2018 was going to be his year. He signed up for the Oct 6 Walk Across Southeastern Connecticut and started a fundraising page on Facebook.

But five minutes after his post went public, his sister-in-law reminded him he was going to be busy that weekend. His niece was getting married in Pennsylvania.

Instead of backing out, Felty did what TBBCF officials encourage others to do if they can’t make the actual walk date — do a virtual walk. That doesn’t mean you don’t complete the marathon. It means you walk it on another day.

So, on Sept .22, 2018, after participating in training walks for 12 weeks, Felty walked 26.2 miles around Mystic, with his friends Nott and Barbara Rice walking part of the way with him. He walked an eight-mile loop and three, six-mile loops. Another friend, Chuck Gimbut, joined them for the last six miles. All three friends will walk the marathon on Oct 6.

TBBCF volunteers set up stations to Felty hydrated and offered him peanut butter sandwiches. They meet him at Cottrell Park, cheering his success and presented him with a special set of dog tags to commemorate his achievement. He raised over $500 for TBBCF.

“It really made me feel awesome,” said Felty, who is retired from Pfizer Inc. and is now the building and grounds coordinator for Child & Family Agency in New London. “I’m already looking forward to next year.”

Felty, 59, lost his mother to breast cancer and he knows many people affected by breast cancer and other cancers. His mother-in-law died from a brain tumor and he has had a small skin cancer removed from his face.

Two days after the walk he was feeling pretty good. He believes in TBBCF and its pledge to donate 100 percent of fundraising dollars to research. He encourages everyone to do the walk.

“The sense of accomplishment one feels when you do in fact do it is an emotional high and you reflect on why you did it and for all the people with cancer who physically can’t do it,’” he said. “Cancer is an awful affliction in any form and for a foundation such as TBBCF to donate 100% of funds raised for researching a cure is motivation enough.”

He plans to walk next year and will keep up weekend walks with the friends he’s made while training.