Donor Recognition

To our Healing Odyssey family: we want to share an amazing story.

One young man, Matt Palocsay (pronounced policy), the son of Sue Palocsay, a grad of Healing Odyssey 8, (October 1997), ran a distance of  534 miles  from his home in San Francisco to Laguna Hills, CA in honor of his mother.

Matt’s Run is a powerful message of hope and healing for a young man, his family, and for all cancer survivors and their families.

Matt’s Run: 534 miles in 11 days, August 4 to August 16 San Francisco to Laguna Hills, California.

To honor two women, raise funds and awareness for women cancer survivors

Matt Palocsay left his home in San Francisco on Thursday morning, August 4 to go for a run—a run that would take him to Orange County, a distance of 534 miles in 11 days. His finish line is the small office of Healing Odyssey, a Laguna Hills-based nonprofit organization that helped his mom, Sue Adams Palocsay, in her two and one half year battle with breast cancer, a battle that ended in 2000. Sue and Matt had shared a deep bond and his sense of loss was overwhelming. He vowed he would do something special to honor her memory. An accomplished runner, his decision was to finish college and law school, and then run from San Francisco to Healing Odyssey, the group who had helped Sue cope with her aggressive cancer with dignity and courage, and live with joy. Impeccable with his word, he took the first step of his journey just one week after finishing the California Bar Exam. However, he now runs for two women, “two of the brightest lights in my life,” as his beloved grandmother Clarisse Adams lost her life to lung cancer little more than a year ago.

The 28-year old recently said, “In Mom’s survival time with cancer, Healing Odyssey was critical in empowering her, in providing a support network for her and offering her the opportunity to support other women. It allowed her to be strong for her family. Cancer doesn’t just affect the person with cancer; it’s devastating to the family as well. And seeing her strong and humorous and quite frankly powerful in the face of this, well, it made a huge impact on all of us.

When asked what he might hope to accomplish with this Herculean feat, Palocsay said, “By making this run I will honor my mom and my grandma in a significant way. I will have taken on a challenge that seems impossible. It won’t bring them back but it’ll put me closer to where they have been. What I can do for Healing Odyssey is raise funds and raise awareness that a program like this exists, because it changes women’s lives, and empowers them to live their lives with cancer and beyond. Survivors and their families need to know about this. I want the experience my mom had–this life-changing experience–to eventually be possible for thousands more women. In this one small organization in Southern California, they’ve got something amazing. For me, a journey any shorter and a cause any less worthy would not do.”

Matt’s run took him along Pacific Coast Highway through some of Sue and Clarisse’s favorite places in the world, including Point Lobos, Pismo Beach and Santa Barbara. He  averaged about 50 miles per day. “To add perspective,” Matt laughed, “I will run a marathon in the morning before lunch and run another marathon before dinner every day for 10 straight days with a short 22 mile run on Tuesday August 16 so I can make it to the finish-line celebration at a decent hour!”

All costs of Matt’s Run were paid by Matt’s 84-year old grandfather and husband of Clarisse Adams, Mr. Jim Adams of Palo Alto, California so that 100% of donations received will support programs and financial assistance for cancer survivors. Matt’s father, Bob Palocsay, of San Juan Capistrano, who would have recently celebrated a 35-year anniversary with Sue, has been encouraging community support for Matt and for Healing Odyssey through his ministry and his own nonprofit organization, You Matter Ministries.

Based in Orange County, Healing Odyssey was founded in 1994 by oncology professionals, Nancy Raymon, an oncology nurse specialist and Donna Farris, a licensed clinical social worker, to deal exclusively with complex issues of cancer survivorship. Its three-day recovery program that has now served more than 800 women, provides cancer survivors with the tools, education and support needed to cope effectively with the devastating impact of a cancer diagnosis and treatment and be empowered to move forward as productive members of their families, workplaces and communities. The organization’s mission is to empower cancer survivors to be strong, hopeful and courageous. Healing Odyssey reaches out to those with all forms of cancer and provides programs regardless of ability to pay.

The final leg of Matt’s Run took him from Huntington Beach on Tuesday morning August 16, along Pacific Coast Highway to Laguna Beach, and Lake Forest.  Accompanying runners and greeters at the finish line welcomed him.

To make donations in honor of Sue and Clarisse, please visit the Healing Odyssey website at www.healingodyssey.net or mail checks to Healing Odyssey, 23785 El Toro Rd., Suite 199, Lake Forest, CA 92630. For more information about Healing Odyssey, its programs, or how you can become involved, please call (949) 707-1710.

As his grandpa, Jim Adams wrote, ” I do know this, there were two guardian angels accompanying Matt, one on his left shoulder and the other on his right.”