Eugenia “Jane” Shvartsman has always been a person driven to challenge herself and try new things. As a freshman at San Francisco University High School (SFUHS), Jane joined their Track & Field team, despite having no previous experience with running. Joining the team was an opportunity that appealed to her ambition and community-oriented spirit.
"I found a family within the team and in the sport of running itself,” Jane shared. “Throughout the years, I have continued to build my strength and remain friends with many of the people. The team really helped me build confidence in my athleticism. It’s incredibly unifying and that’s what I really love about it.”
Toward the end of the season, talks began about the school's annual Jim Tracy 5k to Defeat ALS. Since 2015, the event has been an established tradition at the school, in partnership with the Golden West Chapter, dedicated to raising ALS awareness and support in memory of SFUHS Coach Jim Tracy, who lost his battle with the disease in 2014.
Intrigued to learn more about the event, Jane decided to register and participate her freshman year, and has never looked back.
“Before attending, I had never really witnessed such unity and determination amongst a community of people all coming together to show their support for a specific cause. I was incredibly inspired by the energy of the people around me at the Jim Tracy 5k to Defeat ALS, and ever since then, I have been determined to do my part in the fight against ALS.”
The organizing committee for the Jim Tracy 5k to Defeat ALS is made up of members of the student body at SFUHS. Already having previous volunteer experience, like helping at assisted living facilities, Jane was eager to push herself to do more. “I wasn’t reaching my full potential in helping the communities I was volunteering for.”
Her sophomore year, Jane joined the event’s Outreach Sub-Committee and was responsible for recruiting participants and expanding community support for the event. She then joined the Marketing and Communications Sub-Committee her junior year, during which she had a hand in writing the recruitment emails that were sent to Jim Tracy 5k participants.
“My work with the Jim Tracy 5k to Defeat ALS has left a permanent impact on how I see the world. Specifically, I have begun to understand what it truly means to make a difference and seek to inspire others. I never thought that I would be able to make a true difference in the world of ALS, but the people in the ALS community have shown me what we are all capable of if we just put our minds to it.”
Now in her senior year, and the fundraising event's eighth year, Jane has been promoted to Event Chair. “I feel incredibly privileged to take on this leadership role and hope to make this year's event as incredible as I can. I have been working on the administrative aspects of organizing this event, as well as helping out with fundraising and outreach to engage as many people in the Bay Area as possible!”
To date, Jane has fundraised more than $1,000 and is over 90% towards her goal for the 2022 Jim Tracy 5k to Defeat ALS. “ALS is a very expensive disease, and with the way our healthcare system is structured, this often leads to many people suffering financially when caring for someone with ALS. In addition, ALS research is very underfunded and often overlooked. These are just two of many reasons why we really need to work toward creating more funding for ALS research so that better resources and treatments can be developed to help the ALS community.”
“The ALS community is an outstanding group of individuals that are dedicated to such a critical cause. Don't think that just because this disease does not currently have a cure, that we can give up! It is only with the support of everyone that we can fight this battle against ALS, and every single one of your contributions matters. Whether it is running in an event dedicated to ALS, donating, or simply spreading the word, your contributions and your voice matters.”
You can make a gift in support of Jane’s efforts for the Jim Tracy 5k here, and find out more about the event at JimTracy5k.org. All proceeds from the event will provide critical funding for the Golden West Chapter's urgent, interdependent mission priorities in ALS care services, public policy initiatives, and cutting-edge global research.