OSWEGO — The organizers at Peaceful Remedies found a fitting way to pay tribute to Mary Gosek on her birthday this year, helping fulfill her mission of promoting healthy habits in Oswego and its extended community.
The non-profit organization founded by Gosek two years prior to her death from ovarian cancer in June 2017 recently finished conducting its first virtual challenge, overcoming event-planning hurdles created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The two-week event dubbed ‘Miles for Mary Gosek,’ encouraged people to track mileage during their exercise activity of choice while helping to donate and bring awareness to Peaceful Remedies, which is in its fifth year of collective volunteer work to support individuals facing life-altering diseases.
Participants were encouraged to register and log miles accumulated by walking, running, jogging, biking, roller-blading, swimming, or rowing, and post a photo to social media while performing the act with the hashtag: ‘Miles For Mary Gosek.’ The two-week period lasted from July 17-30, concluding on Gosek’s birthday and what is now recognized as Mary E. Gosek Day in the city of Oswego.
According to Donna Handley, Mary Gosek’s sister and the treasurer for Peaceful Remedies, there were 131 people registered from 10 different states and one Canadian province, and the totals came in at 2,481.13 miles and more than $3,400 in donations.
“There are a lot of good people, and people that have good memories of Mary and everything she did in the community, especially when she was battling the disease,” said Ed Gosek, husband to Mary and the Oswego State head men’s hockey coach since 2003.
“There aren’t a lot of people that do something to reach out and help others when you’re going through treatments and battling for your life, so I think that spoke volumes of Mary and her love for life and willingness to try to help others.”
Participants and even some who were unable to exercise posted videos to social media sharing memories of Mary Gosek and why they were devoted to contributing. Some raised pledges per mile while others simply donated freely as they took part.
Many also held a sign in their respective photos containing a memory of or message to Mary and/or the organization she founded and passionately devoted the final years of her life to. Several former and current players involved with the men’s and women’s Oswego State hockey programs provided heartfelt tributes on various social media platforms.
“Mary had such an impact on people, so personally as her sister, seeing that impact lets her live on,” Handley said. “Just knowing that people are supportive of that, it keeps you going.”
Peaceful Remedies is reliant on fundraising to achieve its mission and often holds various events throughout the year, especially in July, to help support the non-profit organization, and to raise awareness and additional funds for ovarian cancer.
Oswego Speedway has hosted a special event called ‘The Teal Palace,’ each July in recent years to help support Peaceful Remedies and its cause, and each hockey team typically hosts a ‘Teal Night,’ with commemorative jerseys and various fundraising aspects included. Teal is the color used to symbolize ovarian cancer awareness.
“Even though people were not together, I feel like the run brought people together,” Handley said. “We’re all separated, but it kind of brought people together in a sense of community, doing something for a good organization.”
Handley said that ‘Miles For Mary Gosek,’ was planned quickly this year when typical fundraising outlets became unfeasible due to state restrictions against large gatherings.
The organization plans to conduct the campaign against next year for the full month of July.
“I think it will only continue to grow, and it really fits our mission of being healthy, however you want to do it — walk, run, bike, kayak,” Handley said.
“(Mary) always had a bumper sticker that said: ‘0.0 miles,’ because both of her kids ran marathons or 5Ks, and she was never going to do that,” Handley added. “However, she was always exercising, out moving, doing something, so we thought it kind of fit her personality.”
Peaceful Remedies is celebrating its fifth anniversary year of working to carry out Mary Gosek’s vision of helping others face the type of life-altering illnesses that she was enduring when she founded the 501c3 non-profit.
Kim Simmonds serves as the president while Ed Gosek is vice president, Alyson Inman is secretary, and Handley is treasurer.
According to the stated mission on its website, Peaceful Remedies works to improve the healing experience for those impacted by lifelong illnesses, bringing alternative options of therapy and support to those individuals in a safe and peaceful environment.
“It’s a lot of unselfish people,” Ed Gosek said of the organization and its volunteer network. “There is nobody being paid, no one on salary, it’s all people doing it out of the goodness of their hearts to help people in the community, give back to the community. We’re all very blessed at this point that we have our health, so if we can help others navigate through hard times and caregivers navigate through their families’ difficult times and challenges, then it’s all worthwhile.”