The following profiles feature four of the many amazing people who make Zoe’s Race possible.
Erika Nestor and her daughter, Zoe (Photo by: Alison Redlich)
The idea for a 5K race sparked when the Nestors began a remodeling project to make their home more accessible for their daughter, Zoe. Zoe is in a wheelchair as a result of a near drowning accident when she was just 18 months old. “Midway through our renovation I really started recognizing a need in the community, and thought I can’t be the only one who needs their home renovated. I heard a story about a family who could not afford to renovate, so they took a dining room table, sawed off the legs, laid the table down and that was their ramp. The days are hard enough, it shouldn’t be hard to bring your kids in and out of the house, we can make that easy,” says Erika about her inspiration for Zoe’s Race. Erika and her husband, David, have three children together, their daughter Zoe, and their sons Sam, and Luke who happen to be expert hockey players. Truly a jack-of-all-trades, Erika is a yoga instructor, avid runner, cellist, and part-time caterer in her spare time. She and her family live in Burlington and continue to change lives and inspire others every day.
Cathie Buscaglia on race day
Cathie Buscaglia is Director of Innovation at Howard Center. She became involved with Zoe’s Race in 2008, when Erika Nestor shared her idea to help other families in need of accessibility modifications by creating a community event as a fundraiser. “We live in an amazingly generous community, Zoe’s Race exemplifies the Vermont culture of neighbor helping neighbor. The positive energy around this event is really contagious,” says Cathie on what makes Zoe’s Race unique. Cathie has worked for the Howard Center since 1995. She lives with her family in Monkton, Vermont.
CHRIS BROWN & MARK BONSER
Chris Brown (top left), Mark Bonser (top right), Scott Godbout (bottom)
Even with all the money Zoe’s Race raises each year, it is still is only enough to cover building materials and not the construction labor. This is where architect Chris Brown and contractors Rob Peeters and Mark Bonser, as well as others, come in. These men lead busy lives, but they find time in their schedules to volunteer their time to help out with Zoe’s Race. Chris has worked with Zoe’s Race from the beginning and without his generous gifts of time and talent these life changing renovations would be nearly impossible. These volunteers have done a variety of work, from making bathrooms more accessible by installing roll-in showers, new bathtubs, toilets, sinks, and grab bars to installing new ramps or walkways to make getting into the home more accessible. Chris has run the race every year and complimented Erika Nestor by saying that she has “done a great job of making the actual race day a fun family activity.” Chris says to future donors, “This is an easy way to make a profound difference in the lives of local families.” Zoe’s Race is fortunate to have these talented professionals as part of our team and hope they will be with us for years to come. If you would like to be part of the Zoe’s Race Team contact us!