Worcester Monster Dash Aims to Help Local Families Impacted by ALS

by | Oct 14, 2019 | Events, Entertainment, Headlines

WORCESTER – Since 2016, 94 individuals and their families have been assisted in their battle with ALS by the Mary Beth Benison Foundation. 

Over that same time frame, the Mary Beth Benison [MBB] Foundation has provided $84,000 in grants to those families. 

Mary Beth Benison grew up in Tatnuck Sq. and attended St. Peter-Marian and Assumption College. She was diagnosed with ALS in 2014 and passed away in May 2015.

Katie Benison Camell,, Mary Beth’s younger sister, founded the MBB Foundation with the remaining balance from a fund established for Mary Beth’s care when she was alive. 

Benison Camell, the foundation’s executive director, is working tirelessly to get the foundation’s grant total to $100,000 by the end of 2019.

And Benison Camell hopes that Sunday’s Worcester Monster Dash 5K helps put them over the top. 

“There are so many races out there, but what makes this race special is that it’s family friendly and the proceeds go directly to local families,” Benison Camell told ThisWeekinWorcester.com.

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L to R: Abby Freeman, Kaitlin Corso and Grace Camell at a past MBB 5K/Photo Courtesy of MBB Foundation


The race starts at 11 AM next Sunday, October 20, at the far corner of Quinsigamond State Park and Nonquit St. and continues for 1.5 miles of Lake Ave. with the turn around at Bay Edge Dr. just before the intersection of Lake Ave. and Sunderland Rd. 

All participants — kids and adults — are encouraged to dress up in Halloween costumes.

A Kids Dash is inside the park and each participating child will receive a race medal. There will also be games, face painting and music. The mascots from the Massachusetts Pirates, Pawtucket Red Sox, Worcester Railers and Worcester Bravehearts will all be in attendance for a pre-race warm-up. 

The post-race party is hosted by Sam Adams Octoberfest and Truly Hard Seltzer at Tavern in the Square in Shrewsbury. 

This is the fourth year of hosting a 5K race for the MBB Foundation and last year’s race raised $16,000. The goal for this year’s race is raise $25,000.

“[With the Monster Dash] I was trying to increase the number of people that would come to the event. Over the past few years, we’ve averaged around 250 people at these races. We’re aiming for 500 to 600 people to attend this year,” Benison Camell said.��


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Brian Shifrin/Photo Courtesy of MBB Foundation


At the race, the MBB Foundation will honor two grant recipients, Brian Shifrin [photo above] and Kristina Golji.

Shifrin, 43, of Southborough [photo above], a lawyer and former town selectman, is a husband and a father of two. His family received grant money from the MBB to make improvements to his home to make it safer for him.

Kristina Golji, 33, of Grafton, is a  wife and mother of three that was diagnosed with ALS just before she was set to begin studying in a social work program at Anna Maria College. The MBB Foundation provided Golji’s family with the money to install a wheelchair ramp at her home, as well as back-to-school and winter clothing for her children. 

“The proceeds that we raise go to help so many families. The grants that we’ve received go to helping people pay their rent, electric bill or cable bill. A lot of the families that have reached out to me have younger children and are being impacted by ALS at a much younger age,” Benison Camell said. 


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Kristina Golji and her husband Javad and children, Mohammad, Aliyah and Reza/Photo Courtesy of MBB Foundation

Since Oct. 2016, the MBB Foundation has raised nearly $175,000. To date, in addition to the $84,000 in grants, the MBB Foundation has also donated more than $34,000 to other non-profits including ALS TDI, Hope Loves Company and Binkeez for Comfort.

The MBB Foundation is hosting a fundraising Gala in April at the AC Hotels by Marriott in downtown Worcester. 

If you would like to make a donation or for more information on the Mary Beth Benison Foundation, please click here.

To sign up for the Worcester Monster Dash, please click here. Online registration until Oct. 19 is $30. To sign up the day of the race, it’s $35. 

The Kids Dash entry fee is $12 online until Oct. 19 and $15 on the day of the race. 

For more information on the Worcester Monster Dash, click here. 

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Patrick Sargent is the founder and lead reporter for ThisWeekinWorcester.com. He was born and raised on Grafton Hill and is a graduate of Holy Name high school and Worcester State University. Previous to starting TWIW, he worked as a contributing reporter for the Worcester Sun. Before that, over the course of several years, he had stints with GoLocalWorcester, Worcester Magazine, the Leominster Champion and Fitchburg Pride. He can be contacted at [email protected]