23rd annual Griffin’s Friends’ Santa and elf run held in Springfield

Griffin's Friends is named after Griffin Kelleher, who died of cancer at 14-months-old

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s the season of giving, and volunteers are kicking off Christmas Eve in style with some festive costumes.

Over 100 runners are dressed in Santa and elf outfits to support Griffin’s Friends, a volunteer group that works to help support children with cancer and their families.

Tim Blain, Volunteer, Griffin’s Friends said, “A lot of us, our life’s mission is helping kids, so this run is a fun way of doing it.”

It’s the season of giving, and those participating in the Griffins Friends Marathon Challenge are making sure that sentiment carries on.

Paul Grenier, Volunteer, Griffin’s Friends told 22News, “Our motto is ‘bringing a moment of joy to courageous kids’ because their minds and their families minds is strictly on the cancer.”

Becky McAvoy, Volunteer, Griffin’s Friends mentioned, “I found out about Griffin’s friends when my daughter was diagnosed with neuroblastoma 3-years ago and I just wanted to be a part of this because they bring moments of joy.”

The group is named after Griffin Kelleher, who passed away from cancer at just 14-months-old. Many of the participants in Saturday’s event told 22News they have a close personal connection to the cause.

Lyndsey Nunes, Volunteer, Griffin’s Friends said, “The money we raise goes for things for the families, events for the kids, even down to the cool band aids in clinic and it’s really cool when you’redoing any type of charity you get to see where the money goes.”

Griffin’s Friends’ Marathon Challenge, now in its 23rd year, is a major fundraiser for Griffin’s Friends programs and activities. This traditional Santa and elf run starts at Nathan Bill’s Restaurant on Island Pond Road and heads to Forest Park.

Team Griffin’s Friends will also run the Walter Child’s Marathon on May 7th in Holyoke.