Festival of Miles Announces our 2017 Athlete in Need
St. Louis (May 7, 2017) – The Festival of Miles Foundation has announced the Athlete in Need for the 10th Annual Festival of Miles. The Festival of Miles Foundation’s mission is not only to promote the sport of track and field, but also to give back to local athletes in need. Each year a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales go to an athlete in need. This year’s Athlete in Need is Cassie Gorecki. As a St. Louis native, Cassie grew up playing field hockey and soccer at Cor Jesu, and played field hockey on scholarship at Missouri State University. She became a physical education teacher for the St. Louis Public School District and was instrumental in passing on her love of life, fitness, and sports not only as a teacher and mentor but as a Girls on the Run coach for over five years at Shaw VPA Elementary. In the fall of 2016, Cassie took a break from coaching due to difficulties getting pregnant, as she and her husband, Adam, wished to expand their family. Cassie was ultimately successful, but when “Baby G” was 21 weeks, doctors discovered a malignant tumor the size of a football along Cassie’s spine. She was diagnosed with Chondrosarcoma. Because she did not wish to jeopardize the health of “Baby G,” she and her family, with her doctors’ guidance, chose to postpone surgery until the baby was born, and the goal was to get to 34 weeks. Baby Gus came at 32 weeks, spent 49 days in the Special Care Unit at Barnes Hospital, and Cassie underwent a 10 hour surgery to remove the tumor one week after giving birth. She suffered an incomplete spinal cord injury due to the tumor and surgery, and now experiences paralysis from the navel down. She will soon undergo 7 weeks of radiation to help prevent the cancer’s return. Cassie, Baby Gus, Adam, and their entire support system emanate with the strength and courage of champions. Cassie is currently residing in a skilled nursing facility but plans to be strong enough by June 1st, 2017 to attend the Festival of Miles with her family by her side and her niece and nephew participating in the kids races.