Running for fun, while racing for a cure.
That’s the plan each year for the Post Office Race for MPS in Babylon Village.
“We call it the best day of the year for a reason,” said Mark Lessing of Lessing’s Hospitality Group, which owns the restaurant and runs the race.
All proceeds go to the nonprofit MPS Society.
MPS, or Mucopolysaccharidoses, is an often fatal genetic disease in children which prevents the production of specific enzymes that help strengthen the body.
Around 1 in 25,000 are born with MPS or similar strands of the genetic disorder, according to the MPS Society. As of now, there is no cure.
That’s what has driven the Lessing family and others to help.
“It has been a very personal race for me,” said Lessing, who had two children, Mark and Casey, diagnosed with the disorder. They were a year apart in age. Mark passed on Nov. 1, 2010, at 20 years old. Casey died on July 4, 2016, at 24 years old.
Last year’s race day in Babylon would have been Casey’s 25th birthday.
“They were always there,” he said of Mark and Casey’s presence at the race. “I have another son who has been a warrior through this whole thing, who just started medical school.”
To continue their memory, Lessing and the Post Office staffers and others from Lessing’s Hospitality Group put a big efforts into creating a fun-filled, neighborly race.
There are prizes given out and there is partying — a lot of partying, Lessing told GreaterBabylon.
“We have two to three hours where it is an open bar for the neighborhood,” he said.
This year’s run, which takes racers through the village to the docks and back, is being held on Saturday, Oct. 21.
“We call it fast, flat, and scenic,” said Lessing, describing the course.
Lessing is predicting around 800 participants.
Aside from the village coming together, the day pulls together the MPS community.
“[Families affected by MPS] come and set up their own tents,” said Lessing. “It is a really great feeling.”
Top: Mark Lessing holding hands with his daughter Casey. (courtesy)