When the 11th annual Maryland Half Marathon & 5K takes place on June 8 in the Howard County community of Maple Lawn, Michael Greenebaum will be thinking a lot about his mom, philanthropist, community activist and cancer survivor Marlene Goodman Greenebaum.
“This year is special,” he said about the event he co-founded with his friend, fellow runner and co-chair, Jon Sevel. “After being diagnosed with cancer in 1990, my mother was a survivor for 28 years. She passed [last] December at 80 years of age. So the last mile of this year’s race is dedicated to her and will be called ‘Marlene’s Mile.’”
The Maryland Half Marathon & 5K benefits the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center. Since its inception, the event has raised more than $4 million for the nationally-recognized cancer center, with all of its proceeds benefiting cancer research.
In 1996, the Greenebaums — who lived in Pikesville and belonged to Temple Oheb Shalom — donated $10 million to the University of Maryland Medical System and the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the largest private donation ever received at that time by those institutions.
A real estate developer, community activist and philanthropist, Stewart J. Greenebaum died in December of 2017. The Greenebaums, who lived in Pikesville, were married for more than 57 years.
The Greenebaums’ commitment to cancer research and education extended beyond the United States. They founded the Marlene Greenebaum Multidisciplinary Breast Center at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem, as well as the Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Distinguished Professorship in Oncology at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“My mother was strong, quiet and brave, a cancer survivor who never once complained,” said Michael Greenebaum, who lives in Pikesville with his wife, Adele. “She received wonderful care from compassionate people who deal with tough diagnoses and also conduct great research.”
The theme of this year’s marathon and 5K is “Changing Lives One Mile at a Time.” Greenebaum said he will be running this year with his children, Robbie, Heather and Samantha.
“Cancer affects everyone in some way,” Greenebaum said. “It is very real to all of us. The Greenebaum Cancer Center benefits all Marylanders and people from other states, so Marlene’s grandchildren and I are running in it, too. I enjoy it all the more in my 50s.”
Besides the half marathon and 5K run/walk, the family-oriented event features a “Kids Fun Run,” a “Kids Zone” and a post-race festival. Participants will receive a customizable fundraising page, a race t-shirt and a medal.
“The Maryland Half Marathon & 5K gives everyone the opportunity to fight cancer, with 100 percent of all net proceeds going to the Greenebaum Cancer Center, where they support treatment and research,” Greenebaum said. “People who want to participate but can’t run or walk can donate through our website or raise money for cancer research by creating a team and fundraising. This special event gives everyone a chance to give back to the community.”
For information about the Maryland Half Marathon and 5K Run/Walk, visit mdhalfmarathon.com.
Peter Arnold is a Silver Spring-based freelance writer.