Dunmoreans of the Month: Theo and Greg Zayac

By Steve Svetovich

Theo and Greg Zayac lost their three-month-old baby boy Jude to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) eight years ago. But since then, the Dunmore couple has worked ceaselessly to bring awareness to the tragedy that affects so many families.

The eighth annual “Jog for Jude,” held in memory of Jude Zayac, who suddenly and tragically passed away July 23, 2014, from SIDS, is the area’s only 5K race that raises awareness and funds for SIDS research. 

This year’s  race date is Saturday, April 23, at 6:30 pm., with a start at the Dunmore Community Center, 1414 Monroe Ave., Dunmore.

“To celebrate our return to a live in-person event,” said Theo Zayac, “we switched things up this year. This year’s race will be an evening run on Saturday, April 23, capped off by celebratory fireworks.”

The overall male and female champions will receive trophies and prizes. Medals will be awarded to the top male and female finishers in age groups ranging from 6-7 to 60 plus.

It is a rain or shine event. All registrations are final and non-refundable. The race contact is jamesmccormick jr@gmail.com.

This year’s “Jog for Jude” is the first in-person race since 2019. The last two races were held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Day of registration will be available beginning at 5 p.m,

The mission of the Jude Zayac Foundation is to raise funds to support SIDS research and to enrich the lives of living children in our community in honor of Greg and Theo’s late infant son Jude.

“As always,” said Theo Zayac, “proceeds from the event will benefit Robert’s Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Saint Joseph’s Center Baby and Children’s Pantry. Two-thirds of the funds go to the Boston Children’s Hospital and one-third go to the Saint Joseph’s Center Baby Pantry.

A recent photo of the Zayacs shows from left: Theo, Matilda, Greg with Gus on his shoulders, and Gregory.

“This is a very positive thing to raise awareness and do research.

“We raised $1,000 our first year and try to double it each year. My husband’s goal is to have a total of a million dollars raised for this foundation by the tenth year.”

Prior to this year’s event, the Jude Zayac Foundation donated over $650,000 to worthy causes. There is now a named fund in Jude’s memory at Boston’s Children’s Hospital. The fund is called the Jude Theodore Zayac Fund.

Race Day is also the late Jude’s eighth birthday.

There will be refreshments, entertainment, raffles and special surprises at the event.

Supporters can register for the race at: www.runsignup.com/jogforjude. The Jude Zayac Foundation can be followed on Facebook and Instagram (@judezayacfoundation) for ways to receive the most up to date information about events and efforts in the fight against SIDS.

Greg and Theo Zayac are committed to ensuring no more children share the same fate as their infant son. “The Jude Zayac Foundation,” said Theo, “raises funds to support SIDS research and provide enrichment to children living in our community–all in loving memory of sweet baby Jude.”

Theo said research continues to raise increased awareness on SIDS. “In 2010,” she said, “a study from the Boston Children’s Hospital concluded there may be a link between brain stem abnormalities and serotonin deficiencies and SIDS. More studies like this need to be conducted to develop this theory and help find a way to detect SIDS before it kills more healthy babies.

“We are asking you to continue to honor our son, Jude, to stop SIDS in its tracks before it takes another life, and to enrich the lives of Jude’s would-be-friends and classmates.

“We hope to truly make a difference on behalf of our son.”

The Zayac couple have three children: Gregory, 11, and Matilda, 6, both students at Dunmore Elementary Center; and Gus, 4, a student at Saint Clare’s preschool in Green Ridge. The close-knit family keeps Jude in their heart always and forever.

Click this link to register for the 5K race or 1 mile jog/walk: runsignup.com/jogforjude.

Calendar of Events: April 2019

jog for judeJog for Jude

Please join us for the 5th annual Jog for Jude – held in memory of our precious Jude Theodore Zayac who passed away on July 23, 2014 from SIDS.

On April 28, 2019 we will #jogforjude in honor of Jude’s 5th birthday, and we are beyond excited to share with all of you that Dr. Goldstein will be joining us all the way from Boston Children’s Hospital!

Choose from a 5K race or 1 mile fun walk! Following the race, please join the Zayac family for a day of family fun with a Community Celebration – featuring food and drink, basket raffles, face-painting, a bounce house, DJ – and more!

Have a fun, memorable family day and donate to two worthy causes in Jude’s name – the St. Joseph’s Center Baby Pantry and the SIDS research being conducted at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Pancake Breakfast

Post 3474 in Dunmore will host a pancake breakfast on Sunday, April 7, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 110 Chestnut Street in Dunmore. The event is open to the public. The menu will include pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, orange juice and coffee. Tickets for adults are $8; children, $5. There will be a 50/50 raffle.

LRCA_LogoA orgRiverFest

On Saturday, May 11, paddlers will take to the water and revelers will fill the banks of the Lackawanna River for RiverFest draws the community outdoors after the long winter to celebrate the Valley and the River that runs through it. Activities include a Canoe-A-Thon and Duck-A-Thon. Sponsorships are welcome, as well as volunteers for activities running from 8 a.m.l to 6 p.m.

RiverFest 2019 is a full day of river activities, music, food and drink, educational and environmental displays, vendors, and fun for all ages.  Join us in this annual celebration of the Lackawanna River and its watershed!

Find more information at www.lrca.org

Actors Circle Presents “Pygmalion”

actorsActors Circle will present Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw on April 25-28 and May 2-5 at Providence Playhouse, 1256 Providence Road, Scranton.  Cutain time on Thursday, Friday and Saturday is 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12, general admission, $10 seniors, $8 students.

Professor Henry Higgins, a linguistic expert, takes on a bet that he can transform an awkward cockney flower seller into a refined young lady simply by polishing her manners and changing the way she speaks.  One of Shaw’s best known plays, from an updated and considerably revised version of the ancient Greek legend of Pygmalion and Galatea. This also formed an entertaining motion picture and was a great hit with its musical version, My Fair Lady.

The show is directed by Cathy Rist Strauch. For reservations, call 570-342-9707, or email tickets@actorscircle.com.  All reservations are held for 20 minutes before show time.  For more information, visit Actors Circle on facebook, or actorscircle.com.

Meatless Lenten Meal

A Meatless Meal for Lent will be on Friday, April 12, from 5 to 7 p.m. at The Regal Room, Olyphant, sponsored by SS. Cyril & Methodius Ukrainian Catholic Church. The sit-in or take-out menu will include baked haddock, potatoes, cole slaw, roll and dessert, as well as coffee and tea for those sitting in for the dinner. Pre-sold tickets may be obtained for $13 per dinner by calling 570-383-9487 by Monday, April 8. A limited number of dinner will be available at the door at $15 per dinner.

53450777_2304794236232160_2057798494567006208_nBook and Jewelry Sale

Friends of the North Pocono Public Library will host a book and jewelry sale on Friday and Saturday, April 26 and 27, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Sunday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Donations of jewelry and books are being accepted until the sale.

Contact the library, located at 1315 Church St., Moscow, at 570-842-4700 for donation information.

Speed Networking Event at Marywood

Marywood University’s Phi Beta Lambda (PBL – Postsecondary Business Leaders) in partnership with the Alumni Office, will present its sixth annual Speed Networking event with local professionals and alumni on Thursday, April 4, from 5:30-9:30 p.m. in the Liguori Center on the University’s campus. Dinner, basket raffles, and invaluable networking will be available.

Future Business Leaders of America/PBL is a nonprofit education association with a quarter million students preparing for careers in business and business-related fields. The philanthropic cause of Marywood’s chapter of the Phi Betha Lambda National organization is Habitat for Humanity. For additional information, email Marywoodpbl@gmail.com.

UNICO golf tournament (1)UNICO Golf Tournament

Dunmore’s Keystone Chapter UNICO Golf Tournament is scheduled for Sunday, June 2, at Sand Springs, Drums. This year, Saint Mary’s Villa will be the major beneficiary. UNICO scholarships and local charities will also benefit from this tournament.

Burne Cadillac is sponsoring the Hole-In-One prizes. There will be a continental breakfast, 18 holes of golf, several tournament prizes and raffles followed by an early dinner.  Cost is only $90.

To sign up contact Valerie Riggi at 570-963-5252, or any committee member.

Human Trafficking Event

Marywood University will present its seventh annual Human Trafficking Awareness events on Thursday, April 4, and Friday, April 5. The two-day events are sponsored by the Graduate School of Social Work Association and the Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Committee. The events are free and open to the public and volunteers are welcome for the Annual Poster Day Event.

The film, I am Jane Doe, directed by Mary Mazzio, will be shown on April 4, from 4-6 p.m., in the Swartz Center for Spiritual Life, Room B. Following the film screening, representatives from Marywood University, Penn State University, and the Women’s Resource Center will hold a Question and Answer session.

On April, 5, 2019, Marywood and community members will meet at the Learning Commons, Room 331-337, at noon for Marywood’s annual Poster Day Event. For additional information, contact Sunny Sinha, Ph.D., Sinha.sunny@marywood.edu.

2Vikinglogo-SideclearSmallVendor Craft Fair at Riverside East Elementary

The Riverside PROmoting School, community and university Partnerships to Enhance Resilience (PROSPER) team is holding a spring vendor craft fair on Saturday, April 6, at Riverside East Elementary School, 900 School Street, Moosic, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., which will benefit PROSPER’s evidence-based drug and alcohol prevention programs at the school. Direct sale vendors and crafters will be selling products and handcrafted items such as jewelry, hair bows, candles, home décor, soap, American Girl and Barbie clothes, and more.

In addition, free pictures with the Easter bunny and face painting will be available from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.. Door prizes will be given throughout the day and food will be available. Admission is $2 per person with children under 12 free. For more information, call Penn State Extension at 570-963-6842.

Great American Cleanup of Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) are seeking volunteers for this year’s Great American downloadCleanup of Pennsylvania, a campaign of statewide community cleanup activities that runs through May 31. Groups participating in PennDOT’s Adopt-A-Highway (AAH) program, which involves volunteers cleaning roadsides year-round, are also encouraged to take part in the campaign.

In addition, during “Pick It Up, PA Days,” April 13 – May 6, registered cleanup events have access to reduced or free disposal at participating landfills, through support from DEP and the Pennsylvania Waste Industries’ Association.

During last year’s cleanup, 108,638 volunteers collected over 6.5 million pounds of litter from Pennsylvania’s roads, trails, and shorelines. Over 5,300 events were held, with every county participating.

Volunteering is easy. People can simply organize their own local event and register it at Great American Cleanup of Pennsylvania, or can register to participate in an already registered event. Gloves, trash bags, and safety vests for the cleanup campaign will be provided by PennDOT, DEP, and the GLAD Products Company, a national sponsor.

pennDOT-logoSPECIAL NOTE: PENNDOT Change of Hours

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced recently that the Dunmore Driver License Center, 81 Keystone Industrial Park, Dunmore, has changed its hours of operation for driver licensing and photo services.  New hours of operation for the Dunmore Driver License Center will be Wednesdays through Saturdays from 8:30 a.m.to 4:15 p.m. Photo center hours will continue to be Tuesdays through Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., with photo hours extended to 6 p.m. on Thursdays.

Dunmoreans of the Month: Theo and Greg Zayac

Dunmoreans of monthBy Steve Svetovich

Theo and Greg Zayac are Dunmoreans who are truly out to save the world, or at least the tiniest part of it in the form of young infants.

Their ambition is fueled by a cruel tragedy — the death of their healthy three-month-old infant son Jude on July 23, 2014, as a result of S.I.D.S (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

While other parents might be destroyed by such a loss, the grieving young couple instead vowed to make sense out of the tragedy and to make a positive impact in the name of Jude.

When friends set up a Go Fund Me account in the days following Jude’s death, both Theo and Greg knew they did not want to use the money for themselves, but that they wanted to start a foundation in their son’s name. They spent the next six months learning about S.I.D.S and about which hospitals were in the forefront of research. They were saddened to discover that S.I.D.S. is the leading cause of  death in children under one year of age, amounting to approximately 4,000 deaths each year.

Known as the silent killer, since victims pass away in their sleep, S.I.D.S. strikes without notice. Not much is known about its causes, although a study at Boston Children’s Hospital in 2010 concluded that there may be a link between brainstem abnormalities and serotonin deficiencies and S.I.D.S.

“More studies like this need to be conducted to develop this theory and to find a way to detect S.I.D.S. before it kills more healthy babies, like our sweet Jude,” Theo says.

Greg and Theo  believe that Boston Children’s Hospital is the premiere research center for S.I.D.S., making the biggest breakthroughs to help understand and prevent the syndrome, and they decided to raise fund for that research..

Dunmorean of the Month - Jog-for-Jude-2016-52-of-268-768x512“This became a huge part of our coping process, especially for my husband,” explains Theo. “We found that we could put our energy into raising monies to find the causes of S.I.D.S and help other parents avoid a devastating loss like ours. It was a positive way to focus our energy and emotions It has become our mission.”

After doing the research and establishing the Jude Zayac Foundation, the couple settled on the idea of sponsoring a “Jog for Jude”. This simple idea has grown into an event that draws thousands from the community and far beyond to raise both funds and awareness for SIDS research. This year’s fourth annual event will be held on Sunday, April 22, at Dunmore Community Center, 1414 Monroe Ave., Dunmore.

Although the race is the signature event, the family pursues awareness events and fund-raising all year round, including the Blue and Pink Day held in March.

It is very much a family affair, spearheaded by Theo and Greg, with the wholehearted support of their parents, John and Florence Lawless and Ted and Kim Zayac, all of Dunmore. Even their older son, Gregory, now age 7, became involved from the beginning, as have the latest additions to the Zayac’s family–Matilda, 2, and Gus, 9 months.

Dunmorean of the Month - Jude ZayacAlso on board from the start were their siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, and many family friends. For instance, Kevin Hayes is in charge of development; Matt Swartz, finance; Ted Zayac, logistics; Cara McCormick and Florence Lawless, entertainment; Mariclare Hayes and Steve Zayak, awareness; Shamus McCormick, race operations; Linda Speicher and Kim Zayac, volunteers, and Bryan Zayac, recognition.

Their efforts and those of volunteers (370 assisted with the last year’s  Jog for Jude), attracted 2,121 participants in 2017, with $108,496 raised. They expect even higher numbers this year.

Jog for Jude features the area’s only 5K race raising awareness and funds for S.I.D.S. research, as well as a 1 Mile Fun Walk. Pricing for participation is age-based, and various other activities including basket raffles and activities for children are featured.

For more information, visit  www.runsignup.com/Race/PA/Dunmore/JogforJude.