In Honor Of My Late Husband, Run For Safer Streets

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By Jivanna Bennaeim

Jivanna and Oren Bennaeim, before the tragic hit and run on Middle Neck Road

Nearly two years ago, I tragically lost my husband, Oren, due to a reckless driver. I find this time of year to be the most challenging. It is the combination of my birthday and the lack of prescience two years ago that I was spending my last few days with him.

Oren seems most vivid to me during the days where summer shifts to fall. My memories are distinct, although not particularly special. The way he joyously danced to “Boogie Wonderland” in our bedroom, how he helped our son buy an outfit at Brooks Brothers for a friend’s party or how we chose recipes for the Jewish holidays together.

And my heart aches when I allow my mind to consider that I will no longer have new memories of Oren, because of something that could have been easily avoided if people remember to drive more cautiously.

In honor of Oren, I am happy and proud to announce Oren’s 5k/Fun Run, a Day for Safer Streets, which will take place on Oct. 7, in Grace Ave Park at 7:30 a.m., two years and one day after he died. This race is symbolic of what it means to come together as a community and represents the possibilities of how we can all pull together to help protect each other. Life is so short. Let’s all live, drive and walk better. If you do, it could save a life.

When I was in college, I was part of a crew team for four years. I had never rowed before and I found I loved it from the second I stepped in the boat. It was the hardest sport I ever joined and the most fulfilling, as well. I learned the ability to pull together, literally, to be in total harmony and that to win is only accomplished as a team.

I learned what it means to work together, furiously, flawlessly, with power and grace and with everything you have. I think of our community as my rowing team, and I want to encourage everyone in our villages to think collectively about driving and crossing streets more safely.

Please join my son and me for Oren’s 5k/Fun Run. Register at www.safestreetsforall.org. We are also looking for sponsors and volunteers for the day of the event. We would love as much community involvement as possible. Contact northshoreaction@gmail.com, if you can join us.

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