ELIZABETHTOWN - It's been three years since Nathan Hammond passed away, but that hasn't kept dozens of his friends and neighbors from honoring his life with a special fundraiser.
The third annual Breathe for Nate Walk was held April 24, drawing a crowd of nearly 150 people to remember the 16-year-old Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School student whose life ended April 25, 2007 after a long battle with Cystic Fibrosis.
Nathan's sister, Carlee Hammond, organizes the event each year, raising money for causes that hold special meaning for Nathan and his family.
"I was really impressed at the number of people who came out after three years," said Carlee; "just the amount of people who still want to come out and donate to a good cause and help in the community."
Each participant contributed $20 for a t-shirt and barbecue luncheon, which was supplemented by additional donations. Page Cotter, a close friend of Carlee, donated $900, just as she's done in past years.
Altogether, the event raised roughly $4,600, the most it has ever raised. The funds go primarily to the Nathan Hammond Memorial Scholarship Fund, which awards a scholarship to an ELCS senior each year.
Some of the money is also passed along to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Donna Crandall Foundation, a fund which provides care packages for pediatric patients at Albany Medical Center, which is where Nathan received much of his treatment.
Many of Nathan's classmates, now graduated from ELCS, returned to Elizabethtown to participate in the walk.
"It was nice that so many of his friends were able to be there," said Carlee.