Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many charitable 5K runs and fitness walks were canceled in an effort to avoid large group gatherings. However, these cancellations didn’t stop University of Georgia senior Emily Nomberg from going the distance to support breast cancer awareness and her mother’s legacy.
On Sept. 25-26, Emily Nomberg took on the challenge of running 24 miles in 24 hours in an effort to raise money for breast cancer research. In total, Emily Nomberg raised $6,550 which was then doubled to become a total of $13,100 by the Karen Entman Nomberg Legacy Fund.
Emily Nomberg’s mother, Karen Nomberg, was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2003. However, she did not let her condition stop her from being proactive in the fight against breast cancer within her community. Throughout her four year battle with the disease, Karen Nomberg was involved with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the largest breast cancer organization in the country.
Karen Nomberg lost her fight against breast cancer in May 2007. Since her passing, Emily Nomberg and her family have participated in the annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. However, this year’s race in Emily Nomberg’s hometown of Birmingham, Alabama was canceled because of COVID-19 concerns. After hearing this news, Emily Nomberg decided she wanted to find another way to honor her mother and others who had lost their fight against the disease.
“I wanted to be proactive and do something that would combine something that I love which is running, and then also something that would honor my mom’s legacy and raise money for something that is so important to my family,” Emily Nomberg, a biology major, said.
Emily Nomberg said she first came up with the idea for this challenge back in May while quarantining in Birmingham with her father and sister. She then spent the entire summer training and raising money on social media and throughout her hometown community.
Emily Nomberg’s father, Bernard Nomberg, and her sister, Sidney Nomberg, made the decision to surprise Emily during her very first mile of the challenge. And over the course of the 24 hours that followed, both Bernard and Sydney each joined Emily and ran alongside her for portions of the run along with several of Emily’s close friends.
Emily Nomberg said during the challenge she slept for only 30 minutes total as she was getting up each hour to run a mile. Though she was a little nervous at first to take on the challenge, Nomberg said support from her friends and family members helped with her nerves and struggles throughout the 24 hours.
“I was a little nervous [at first] just because it is a very long challenge,” Emily Nomberg said. “But then I started to get more excited because my friends started signing up to run with me, and I was raising so much money that the fear of exhaustion of not being able to finish went away and was replaced with excitement.”
Bernard Nomberg said his wife’s legacy involved a lifelong passion for philanthropy and giving back to the community and to the greater good. For over 13 years, the Nombergs have carried on this legacy by supporting nonprofits and other organizations that mean something special to their family.
“One of Karen’s mantras was you’re not free from stopping what you’re doing because you’re never finished,” Bernard Nomberg said. “And I knew when Emily approached me about this [challenge] that that was where she was coming from, and I’m sure giving back will always be a part of her life’s passions.”
Moving forward, Emily Nomberg said she is considering making this 24-hour run an annual event as a way to carry on her mother’s legacy.
“Anyone that knew my mom would describe her as probably the most philanthropic person they knew,” Emily Nomberg said. “I want to continue to raise money for breast cancer research because my mom would’ve done the same thing, and I want to continue to help the world like she did.”