The Pekoff family of Bellmore fostered dogs for the Adopt A Boxer Rescue in 2018 and decided to make their home a permanent one for Lucas, an amputee who quickly formed a special bond with the head of the household.
“My father had a knee injury at the time we began to foster Lucas, and they developed a connection because they were both limping,” Alexander Pekoff said. “It wasn’t long before we decided to go from fostering to adopting.”
Soon after 7-year-old Lucas, their fourth foster dog, became an official part of the family, Alexander felt a need to give back to the organization responsible. “I wanted to do something to thank them,” he said. “I’m an endurance athlete and was looking for my next challenge, and felt it was perfect timing.”
So on Aug. 2, the 2015 Mepham High School graduate embarked on a fundraising journey, a remarkable 565-mile run from Niagara Falls to Montauk. He set a goal to raise $11,000 for Adopt A Boxer Rescue, a non-profit founded in 2004 that operates in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington D.C. and Rhode Island.
Pekoff, pushing a baby stroller full of supplies such as clothes, food, drinks and electronics, covered an average of 40 miles a day, peaking with a 102-mile non-stop final push Aug. 15-16. His single-longest day of the trip covered 60 miles.
“I had a general idea mapped out, but my goal was to get as far as I could each day,” he said. “The last push was by far the toughest. I started in Wantagh at 5 a.m. Saturday and reached Montauk Point at 4 p.m. Sunday. It was a brutal final push to the finish line.”
Had it not been for the dozens of stops by police along the way, Pekoff may have finished a day sooner. “When people see a person pushing a baby stroller on a highway, they tend to call the police,” he said. “It happened every day. All of the officers who stopped me were great — some gave donations.”
A boost on the final day was provided by a handful of friends, including former Mepham cross-country coach Anthony Serravite, who joined Pekoff for 20 miles. Meeting Alexander at the finish were his parents, Dennis and Debbie, and of course, Lucas.
The mileage topped Pekoff’s previous long journey on foot — 360 miles — that was set last year when he ran from Las Vegas to San Diego. He also biked from Florida to Alaska in 2019, totaling 5,837 miles.
Nadine DeStasio, a Long Island coordinator for Adopt A Boxer Rescue, said the organization is extremely grateful for Pekoff’s gesture. “We’re honored he chose us,” she said. “He has great respect for our volunteers, and this helps bring awareness to our rescue. A lot of people don’t even know rescues exist.”
Bewteen GoFundMe and other donations, Pekoff has raised about $16,000 so far. “I’m so glad I could do this for them and it’s going to help so many dogs in the future,” he said.
To donate to Alexander’s campaign for Adopt A Boxer, visit GoFund Me.com (https://Gf.me/u/yhc9tb).