A crowd 600 people braved the cold in Verona Park on Saturday for Team Zoey‘s Turkey Trot, a 5K run and one mile walk to fund research into progeria, a rapid aging disease. The Turkey Trot was created eight years ago by the family of Zoey Penny, then a Verona toddler.
Zoey is in the third grade at Forest Avenue School now and her classmates (top) turned out to support her at the walk, as they do every day at school. Together with another school team, Forest & Friends, Forest Avenue was the event’s top fundraiser, contributing about $15,000 of the $35,000 that it appears to have raised. The Verona Education Association, the Verona teachers’ union, was a sponsor of the event.
Team Zoey raises money through the Turkey Trot, golf outings and other events for the Progeria Research Foundation (PRF) to find a cure and develop treatments for progeria, a fatal disease that prematurely ages those who have it. Zoey Penny was just 10 months old when she was diagnosed with progeria. Since then, PRF has funded a wide variety of grants and clinical trials, some of which have shown that they are effective in extending the lives of progeria patients.
“Team Zoey would like to send out a huge thank you to everyone who participated in our eighth annual Turkey Trot,” the event organizers wrote on Twitter. “We would not be able to do this with out you!”