Race of Research: Philadelphia 5K Walk/Run 2014
Posted: October, 2014
The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation is pleased to present Paul Piazza with the 2014 MMRF Philadelphia 5K Walk/Run Spirit of Hope Award. This courageous man lived to serve his family, community, and country. An Air Force Veteran of the Vietnam War as well as an Ex-Chief of the Patterson Fire Department, Paul was truly passionate about being there for others. In Paul’s honor, the team, “Sunshine on my Shoulders” was created in both Chicago and Philadelphia.
Paul was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2011 and continued his fight for two years until his passing. After Paul’s passing, his niece Alysha Mudaliar, who regularly participates in 5K races, just so happened to see an advertisement for the MMRF Chicago 5K Walk/Run. The family felt an overwhelming desire to do something to give back for the cause. Alysha captained the Chicago 5K team, and Starr Piazza, Paul’s daughter-in-law, captained the Philadelphia 5K team. This is the team’s first year participating in the MMRF Chicago and Philadelphia 5K Walk/Runs.
Paul’s life was defined by his service to others. When he was 16, he began his life of serving others. At 18, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force during the height of the Vietnam War. When his tour was over he met and fell in love with Judi and they started a family. Judi and Paul shared life and love that many hope to obtain. The team’s name, “Sunshine on my Shoulders,” was chosen by Judi because it was the song her and Paul danced to at their wedding. “Sunshine on my Shoulders” holds special meaning not only to Paul and Judi, but everyone who witnessed the love they shared and spread amongst all.
“Nothing was more important to Paul than family and friends and he would be proud that we all make time to be together,” said Alysha.
This year marks the start of a beautiful tradition in which the family hopes to bring everyone together and truly make a difference in the fight against multiple myeloma. Family and friends of Paul’s living too far away to participate in the Chicago or Philadelphia races will do their part by running/walking on their own the same day as the race.
Paul was an avid supporter of his community by coaching baseball, serving on the little league board, and owned a small construction business. He volunteered his skills and equipment for multiple community projects. For over 50 years he was involved with the volunteer fire services which included him responding to Ground Zero on 9/11. One of Paul’s greatest characteristics was that he never asked for recognition. In fact, he would selflessly shy away from any spotlight or award.
“The honour of him being recognized as the “Spirit of Hope” is ironic but very significant to those who knew him because we know he is finally receiving some of the recognition that he has always deserved. Paul’s determination in life and in his battle against multiple myeloma is enough to inspire perseverance in the light of any obstacle. His leadership by example has given us all the tools we need to face any circumstance. Perhaps that, not his lifelong service, will be his legacy,” shared Alysha.
The MMRF is proud and honoured to recognize Paul Piazza, along with his family and the Sunshine on my Shoulders team for their tremendous support and dedication to raising awareness as well as fighting to find a cure for multiple myeloma.