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‘Fighting for Phil-a-Thon’ to raise funds for beloved Worcester JCC member

By Laura Porter

WORCESTER – When Sarah Caliri first heard in June that her friend and JCC workout buddy, Phil Klausmeyer, had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the age of 51, she – and their fellow exercisers – were stunned.

It wasn’t just the devastating news; it was who it was.

Klausmeyer is “very committed to health and wellness,” says Caliri, who sees him every day in fitness classes at the JCC. “He’s unbelievably physically fit. He loves to run; he’s run the Holden Road Race for the past couple of years and came in third overall last year.”

Conservation Scientist and Painting Conservator at the Worcester Art Museum, Phil Klausmeyer is a highly respected professional in the art world. He is a researcher at WPI and an associate editor for the Institute for International Conservation’s Studies in Conservation.

He lives in Holden with his wife, Amy, a nurse in the Wachusett Regional School District. They have two sons in their twenties, Ethan and Noah.

He is also a devoted JCC member.

“He goes in the morning to shower and use the spa and socialize with the guys in the men’s spa,” says Caliri. “And then he goes back at the end of the day to take classes and work out. He probably utilizes that place more than anyone else.”

After the initial jolt of his diagnosis, she and other JCC members were “feeling restless,” she says. “I was thinking, ‘what can we do besides say how unbelievable it is?’”

The answer was the Fighting for Phil-a-Thon, an event slated for Sunday, Sept. 20 at the JCC to focus on fun, fitness and raising funds for the Klausmeyer family.

From 1 to 5 p.m., there will be classes for adults, including Body Pump, Yoga, Zumba, Sh’a Bam and more. Kids can take part in mini-sports classes, a fitness obstacle course, arts and crafts and face painting. The indoor pool will be open for everyone, and a 50/50 raffle will give away a three-month membership to the JCC. There will be food and beverages in the courtyard.

The event is open to the public. Suggested donations are $30 for adults and $10 for children, though any amount will be gratefully accepted and donations are not required to attend.

The JCC is donating the building for the afternoon and fitness and other staff members are volunteering their time.

Sarah Caliri cannot say enough about the JCC’s response. In organizing the afternoon, she has worked closely with Jody Fredman, Special Projects Director, and Fitness Director Elaine Drawbridge in conjunction with a special committee she set up with Fredman.

“They have been absolutely amazing in terms of time and resources,” she says of the JCC. “You don’t know how an organization will react, but they have been involved without any reservation. From the outset, they said ‘we are totally going to do this.’

Phil Klausmeyer and his family hope to be able to attend the fundraiser. He is currently undergoing treatment at Dana Farber Hospital in Boston.

Funds are being collected through GoFundMe (contact information below), and the expected goal is $5000.

Everything raised will go directly to the family to put toward unanticipated costs such as parking at the hospital in Boston or co-payments, which add up quickly.

“Cancer is expensive,” Caliri says.

Or, she hopes, the Klausmeyers might use the extra funds to go out for a special dinner if he feels well enough or for a stay at a bed and breakfast in Western Massachusetts, where he is from.

The Phil-a-Thon has drawn attention and support as word spreads.

“People have said to me, ‘I just want to do whatever I can,’” Caliri says. “Phil has made so many unbelievable relationships and friendships at the JCC. We want to give back in some way. He is one of those people who has touched so many different people.”

How to participate:

Go to www.gofundme.com/


  1. Donate your participation fee
  2. Fill out participant form for each person attending

You can also donate at the JCC using your Visa, MasterCard, check, or cash (not available on Saturdays).

Suggested Donation: $30/adult, $10/child. All are welcome. Donation in any amount suggested but not required. For more information contact: Sarah Caliri at 617-697-4936, or fightingforphilk@gmail.com.


Statement from Phil Klausmeyer:

On June 12th this summer I was informed that the persistent abdominal pain that I had been dealing with for weeks prior was actually much more than the temporary gastrointestinal issue I had thought it to be; instead, the pain stemmed from a cancerous tumor on my pancreas that had already metastasized to my spleen, my liver, a nearby lymph node, and possibly my colon and right lung. The diagnosis comes with an even more upsetting prognosis for survival. Needless to say, my family and I were stunned by the news. As tempting as it is to use phrases like “earth-shattering” to describe the effect this has had on me, it would not be entirely accurate. Instead, it has given me pause to think of the many people and places that have enriched my life so much thus far. Included prominently among these is the JCC and the many friends, young and old,

that I have made there. The JCC has been such an enjoyable part of my daily routine for years now; whether it be for just stopping by in the morning for an ‘executive workout’ and saying hello to some of my chums, or the many group exercise classes that I attended in the evening such as Body Pump, Grit, Spin, etc., rarely a day went by that

I did not do something there. However, no matter what particular activity it was that brought me in on any given day, it was the people that I met and the friendships that

I formed that have made the JCC such a special place for me, and for that I am truly grateful.

As “community” is literally part of what the JCC stands for, it is that community and the individuals that constitute that community who I want to thank for their friendship

and more recently the many ways they have shown me kindness and support as my family and I face the challenge now before us. I remain hopeful that in the near future

I can once again enjoy the privilege of being part of that community on a regular basis, even if that means an extended routine of “executive workouts” to start with. Until then,

I remain grateful for the blessings I have experienced at the JCC, many of which aren’t readily listed in the printed material of membership benefits.

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