Standing at the starting line, surrounded by an enthusiastic crowd of people all ready to walk or run, a cool breeze ripples through the air. The determination among the participants is palpable. One thing unites them all: Paige’s Butterfly Run.
Founded in memory of Paige Arnold, a little girl who passed away from complications with leukemia in 1994, Paige’s Butterfly Run is a nonprofit organization that funds local research and pediatric programs at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital in Syracuse. Its goal is to support current and future pediatric cancer patients and their families. Annually, the organization hosts its signature 5K run/3K walk in order to raise funds and awareness.
Like so many others, Mary Kate Intaglietta ‘03 developed a deep passion for the organization. She began walking in the annual event when she started dating a man who had Ewing Sarcoma, a form of cancer most common in children and teenagers. Sadly, though, about a year later, he passed away while they were still together. “Looking for some way, really, to honor his memory,” Intaglietta turned to their shared love of Paige’s Butterfly Run. She began running in the 5K race.
Now, Intaglietta’s support for the non-profit extends to her role as executive director of the organization. From meeting with sponsors to updating the website to talking with children in elementary schools about how they can make a difference, her days are spent ensuring that the organization runs smoothly and helps as many families as possible. From its signature event alone, Paige’s Butterfly Run was able to raise nearly $200,000 in 2019.
Ever since she was in high school, Intaglietta knew she wanted to spend her life helping others. Her service-oriented mindset, she discovered, made Le Moyne a perfect fit for her. “It’s always about, ‘What can you do in service to others?’” she says. “And I think that’s such a rare thing to find, but at Le Moyne, it’s really what you live and breathe.”
Her time at the Heights provided her with the skills she would need to be successful in her mission. Through earning her degree in English with a concentration in Communications, Intaglietta learned not only the technical skills of how to write well, but also that “it’s not always about what you have to say. It’s about what you take in, and then what you can contribute.”
Paige’s Butterfly Run has much to contribute to the local community. The organization has expanded throughout the years to include additional events, such as an indoor spinning event in March and a clambake in September. It also sponsors “hope events” for families, which help to build community outside the hospital. And, through its family assistance and survivor wellness fund, the organization supports the families of recently diagnosed children in a variety of ways, such as providing gas cards or comfort kits—backpacks stuffed with blankets, t-shirts, toiletries, and other items to help make hospital stays a little more comfortable.
“I always knew I wanted to do something that would benefit the community,” says Intaglietta. “Going to Le Moyne reinforced that for me because the College is all about men and women for others.” Reflecting on how Le Moyne helped to prepare her for her future, Intaglietta says that the College consistently asked her one transformative question: “What can you do in service to your community?”