In 10 months, Absecon's Pat Dumadag transformed himself from a fast food-eating couch potato into a marathon runner.

When the real estate appraiser walked through the door at Tilton Fitness in Galloway Township last November, he weighed nearly 300 pounds. But he had motivation to change his life.

In 2005, his sister Angela Dumadag began training to run a marathon to help raise money for cancer. One month before the marathon, their mother was diagnosed with cancer, making her run even more meaningful.

After Angela completed the marathon, the four Dumadag siblings, which also include Jersey City's Roger Dumadag and Upper Township's Dorothy Kalinowski, decided to run a marathon together. They achieved that goal in 2007 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., raising more than $16,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

But Patrick's weight battle was not over. After his mother's death in 2007 followed by his father's death a year later, he became depressed and put most of the weight back on. Inspired by his children, he decided to lose the weight again.

Since November, he has lost 90 pounds, run 30 races (including 11 half-marathons and four marathons) and is a finalist in the Isabody Challenge, in which he can win $10,000. He has also helped raise more than $250,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

"My identity has totally changed," Dumadag said. "My goal is to help as many people as possible. If someone reads my story, maybe it can change their life forever."

Short StoriesBurak Cimen, 9, was treated to more than a speech during former President Bill Clinton's July 23 appearance at the Atlantic City Hilton. Clinton called the young Egg Harbor Township resident onstage during the event to ask him about his favorite subject in school and future plans. Cimen's father, Mustafa, and brother, Merp, 11, listened and snapped a picture as Cimen told Clinton of his own presidential aspirations. "It was a very positive and memorable experience that evening both for my children and me," Mustafa Cimen said. ... Jewish Family Service recently raised more than $40,000 for older adult services during its 23rd annual JFS House Tour. Co-chaired by Ventnor's Beth Shor and Margate's Beverly Rubin, the event invited nearly 1,000 guests to tour seven Absecon homes. Jewish Family Service's older adult services assists local senior citizens, regardless of religious affiliation, in hopes of enhancing their quality of life.

 

- Short Stories compiled by Emily Brill

Everyone Has a Story appears Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays. To share your story, call Scott Cronick at 609-272-7017 or e-mail him at scronick@pressofac.com.