Jay Harper, with a huge boost from his Jobs for Maine Graduates students, will run the New York City Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 1, with the goal of raising $4,000 for the V Foundation for Cancer Research.

Harper, the Jobs for Maine Graduates specialist at Freeport High School for 16 years, leaves for New York on Friday morning. He will run one of the last “waves” of the marathon at 10:15 a.m.

Harper said that JMG has led the way in eclipsing his original fundraising goal of $3,000. He had raised $3,896 as of Monday, and was hoping for $4,000.

Freeport High JMG students have donated the proceeds from some of their fundraisers to the V Foundation. Harper also has raised money through notices sent to graduates of the Freeport Jobs for Maine Graduates program, and colleagues.

He touted the efforts of Freeport High students.

“Freeport High School Jobs for Maine Graduates students have raised over $46,000 for various cancer-fighting charities in the last 16 years and an impressive $62,000 for all charities,” Harper said.

Freeport High Jobs for Maine Graduates students commented on Harper’s run in emails to the Tri-Town Weekly.

“Mr. Harper is always passionate about getting us to fundraise for charity, but he really is when it comes to causes that support the fight against cancer,” said senior Jolene Woodbury. “He always mentions that most of us know someone who has had cancer and whatever we do now may help us in the future. Last year we did Crew Cuts for Cancer to show support for his brother who had cancer. It was a lot of fun knowing that if we raised enough money, he and Mr. (Simon) Skold would get a crew cut, which they did.”

Said Colleen Drew, also a senior: “Last year we did the Fit for Charity Walk and Mr. Harper encouraged us to pick The V Foundation for Cancer Research as our charity because he is a huge fan of the (Villanova) basketball coach who died from cancer and started the charity and because his mom and brother are both two-time cancer survivors.”

Sophomore Sage Gowen said he raised “the most money from our JMG class for the lobster raffle, $225, because I recently learned of a teacher here at Freeport that lost his son to cancer several years ago. So I wanted to do whatever I could to help fight cancer, also in case I ever get cancer later in life it might help me. I also wanted to support Mr. Harper and I still can’t believe he is going to run 26 miles. I know he runs but to run that far and exhaust your body to that degree blows my mind. I can’t ever imagine doing that and running that far.”

Harper ran the Boston Marathon in 2001, 2002 and 2003, all for Dana Farber, with a personal best of 3:52.58.

“I went the charity routes, and at Jobs for Maine Graduates, that’s what we do,” he said.

Following his 2003 Boston Marathon run, Harper “settled back” to a routine of 3 to 5 miles a day. He kicked that up considerably this year, making runs of 10 to 15 miles.

“Last March I got a newsletter asking me to join the V team and run New York City,” Harper said. “I said, ‘You know what, I’m going to give New York a try.’”

Harper will run the marathon to honor his mother, Betty Beaulieu, 83, who is a two-time breast cancer survivor, and his brother Jeff Harper, 57, who has battled two different cancers.

Jay Harper, Jobs for Maine Graduates specialist at Freeport High School, will run the New York City Marathon on Sunday to raise money for the V Foundation for Cancer Research. Courtesy photo

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