by Jeff Hartzell
Singer, teacher Cusatis runs for good cause
Cusatis, 35, and girlfriend Anna Johnson have raised about $9,000 for the Leukemia Society of America through the Team in Training program, which sends runners to marathons around the country.
other members of the Charleston Team in Training will run in the
Midnight Sun marathon today in
is a happy merger of Cusatis’ long-time plan to visit
last December that I wanted to run a marathon this year, and I had
wanted to go to
The Team in Training program sends runners to marathons around the country, if they can earn a minimum of $3,600 in donations to the Leukemia Society.
Cusatis thought he could double that.
“We raised most of it from letters to friends and family” Cusatis said.
Cusatis, whose songs have been played on local radio stations, raised
biggest lump sum with a 14-band concert on Bowen’s
A fund-raiser at James Island High netted $1,200 and patrons at local bars and clubs where Cusatis plays also contributed.
In retrospect, raising the money might have been the easy part. There was also the matter of getting in shape to run a 26.2-mile marathon.
“I ran a
half-marathon in 1979, but that’s the closest I’ve come to a marathon,”
Cusatis, a native of
with his students while coaching their
though, he’s busy commuting to
“Since December, I’ve been running between four and 10 miles a day during the week,” he said.
“On the weekend, I try to run 12 to 20 miles, and I lost 25 pounds during the first two months.”
“They tell you not to exceed 20 miles a day in training. Last week, I did 20 miles downtown with the team, and I felt like I could run another six when we were finished.”
“The last week, they tell you to cut way back and get some rest.”
and Mechele Burns are the coaches of the Charleston Team in Training. Each of the 17 members of the Team in Training
runs in honor of a Lowcountry leukemia patient.
Cusatis is running for 8-year-old Will Austin of Moncks Corner,
Johnson for 6-year-old Katy Herron of
“This particular charity really appealed to me,” Cusatis said. “I’ve been close to some people who have had leukemia, some students of mine. It always has seemed to me the most loathsome disease, because it strikes so many children.”