Gone, but not forgotten

ELIZABETHTOWN - Once again, people in the Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School community will have a chance to remember a friend who is gone, but not forgotten.

The second annual Breathe for Nate walk is scheduled for April 25, exactly two years after Nathan Hammond, a 16-year-old student at ELCS, passed away following a long battle with Cystic Fibrosis.

"He had many friends there," said his sister, Carlee Hammond, who helps organize the event in his memory.

With more than 150 people attending last year, the event raised roughly $3,000 after expenses.

"Hopefully we will have just as many people this year," Carlee said.

Some of that money was donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation or the Donna Crandall Foundation, two charities that benefitted Nathan throughout his life.

However, most of the funds raised by the event contribute to the Nathan Hammond Memorial Scholarship fund. Each year, the fund awards a scholarship to an ELCS senior. The scholarship may hold special meaning to seniors this year, since 2009 is when Nathan would have graduated.

"Our criteria is whoever shows the most resiliency in life situations, whether it be academically or life in general," said Carlee. "That's because Nathan was always so resilient. No matter how sick he was or how down he was, he always made people feel good."

Walkers will embark from the school at 1 p.m. and travel south on Route 9 to Hand Avenue, circling over to the Adirondack History Center Museum. From there, the group will split with some heading down Water Street to Route 9N, while others take a shortcut on Park Street. The walk ends back at the school.

Registration begins 12:30 p.m. at ELCS. A registration fee of $20 includes a t-shirt for participants. Last year the t-shirts were orange in honor of Nathan's favorite color. This year they will be blue, a symbol of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

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