Not many twelve-year-olds know how easy it is to impact the world around them. Tyler Hanft does.
Hanft, who had an original goal of raising $1,800 for breast cancer awareness, raised close to $6,000 for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure as a part of a bar mitzvah project to do charitable work and to honor his mother who is a breast cancer survivor.
My mom had breast cancer in 2006 and that was a big shock to my family, said Hanft, "I had to take on a project for my bar mitzvah and I chose the Race for the Cure because it was something that meant a lot to my family and something to connect with."
Hanft created a Web site to help garner donations from local residents and members of his temple, Congregation Gates of Heaven, in Schenectady. With an original goal of only $1,800, Hanft has raised $5,942 and can account for 13 percent of all the donations for the 5K event in Albany that was held on Saturday, Oct. 3, making Hanft the top fundraiser for the whole race.
"Everything just fell into place," said Hanft's mother, Marjorie Rosenthal, "Gates of Heaven was looking for a project that was meaningful to him and he loves to run."
"I started the project as a bar mitzvah project but now it has become something more," Hanft states on his Web site, "I want to help the fight against breast cancer so people and their families don't ever have to go through what we did."
Hanft not only raised money for the race but also participated with his mother in the 5K run. Hanft has previously run in the Congregation Gates of Heaven Cherry Blossom Festival 5K and the DARE Fall 5K runs.
As a member of the Van Antwerp modified boys soccer team, Hanft hopes to join the track and field team at Niskayuna High School this spring as an eighth grader.
"I'm doing track in the spring and I've always wanted to run a marathon, the one in New York City" said Hanft, "I'm interested in the 400m and the 800m."
Hanft finished the race in 124th place with a time of 23 minutes and 52 seconds.
"I was just so proud of him, of his accomplishments, that he chose to honor his mom in this way," said Tyler's father, Seth Hanft, "Bottom line " I am very proud of his determination."