Canajoharie teacher, marathoner seeks community support to benefit seriously ill children

A Canajoharie teacher ran the New York City Marathon Nov. 6 to benefit a Northeast charity that aids seriously ill children and their families.

Canajoharie High School English teacher Mrs. Richele Simmons-Mollica finished the 46th Annual New York City Marathon to benefit the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, an organization founded by actor Paul Newman to provide “a different kind of healing” to sick children throughout the Northeast. As she prepares for the race, Simmons-Mollica is looking to raise $3,000 for the charity, which provides camp experience with medical care free of charge at various facilities including the Double H Ranch in Lake Luzerne.

To raise the money, Simmons-Mollica is holding a raffle for one of three baskets – a honey basket, a maple syrup basket and a Newman’s Own-themed basket. Tickets are $1 and can be obtained by emailing or calling or texting her at (518) 705-7774. Community members can also purchase honey from Simmons-Mollica – $11 for a pound and a half jar – and all the proceeds will be donated to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. Direct donations to the charity can also be mailed to Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, 555 Long Wharf Drive, New Haven, CT, 06511 with c/o Richele Mollica written in the memo line.

Each year, the NYC Marathon makes slots available to charity runners who raise money for hundreds of worthy causes. Of the 50,000 people who ran the marathon last year, 8,700 were charity runners who raised nearly $40 million for not-for-profit organizations.

Founded in 1988 The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp helps more than 25,000 seriously ill children and family members annually – all completely free of charge. Multiple camp experiences are provided in facilities in Ashford, Conn., in 40 hospitals and clinics, directly in camper homes and communities, and through other outreach activities across the Northeast.

“It’s a pretty amazing organization,” Simmons-Mollica said. “Any small donation will make a difference and the cool thing is that all donations are being matched, doubling the money going to the kids.”

Simmons-Mollica has been teaching English in Canajoharie schools for the last 15 years. The New York City race will be her fourth marathon.