WESTFIELD — During her relatively short life, Mary Malone Regan brought great joy, a quick wit and a love for children and helping others to all those around her.

“She was really kind. It inspired me,” said her mother, Elizabeth Malone. “We want people to remember her.”

Regan died Oct. 31, 2022, at just 30 years old, days after the birth of her daughter, Ellie. The loss came as a shock to the family, but now they’re hoping to bring something good out of their loss.

“We’re trying to take a horrible experience and make something positive,” explained Malone.

Regan’s family and friends will host the inaugural Miles for Mary 5K run and walk Sunday, May 19, to raise money for the Mary Malone Regan Scholarship to help parents in the Springfield Technical Community College nursing program.

The exact criteria for the scholarship is still being decided, but it will be managed by the STCC Foundation. Malone expects that a board will decide who receives the scholarships.

Regan, an Agawam High School alumna,  graduated from the nursing program with honors in 2021, a natural at the caring and empathetic qualities needed to be a good nurse.

“She just thrived. She was really bright,” recalled Malone. “I think she’d be really proud of what we’re doing here, trying to improve the lives of the parents, and their kids, in the nursing program.”

Regan adored children, having served as a nanny for 10 years before attending nursing school. Even when those children entered school full-time, she still served as their nanny on a part-time basis.

“She had a way with kids. She really did,” said Malone.

Regan eagerly anticipated the arrival of her own daughter in the fall of 2022 and Ellie is now what helps Regan’s family to cope with their loss.

“She’s the one who keeps us going,” said Malone. “She’s where we find joy.”

Malone, friends and family are also finding joy in bringing this event together to build the scholarship fund. Many people and local businesses have donated baskets and gift cards toward the raffle at Miles for Mary. Although Malone has never run a 5K, she said it’s now on her bucket list to run this one next year. Mostly, Regan’s family and friends want to emulate her by helping others.

“Mary had such a kind spirit, but she was also very funny and had a quick wit,” remembered Malone. “She always had a movie or show quote for any situation and a great laugh. She had really good friends because they were just drawn to her. We miss her dearly.”

The Miles for Mary 5K run and 1-mile walk are being managed by 4Run3. The event takes place at Stanley Park, 400 Western Ave., Westfield. Both start at 10 a.m. Registration is $30 for adults, free for children 12 and under with a registered participant.

For more information or to sign up, visit runsignup.com/Race/MA/Westfield/MilesforMaryRunWalk.

Tina Lesniak
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