Kenneth Murawski: Standing Strong and Giving Back

The Baldwin-Whitehall School District has a rich legacy of alumni who contribute to the history of the District and to the region. One of those alumni is Ken Murawski. Murawski was an outstanding member of the Baldwin High School football team in the 1970's. Yet, Murawski's impact extends far beyond the field as he made a significant difference in his community.

A linebacker, Murawski was part of a strong Baldwin High School football team. After graduating BHS is 1978, Murawski attended college at Carnegie Mellon University. As a freshman, Murawski was one of two starting line-backers. The other starting linebacker, Rich Lackner eventually moved from being Murawski's line partner to being his position coach after Lackner graduated. Murawski's athletic ability was recognized his senior year when he was named a Small College Kodak All-American. As a strong student, his gifts were not only evident on the football field. Murawski earned a triple major in Math, Economics, and Statistics from CMU. Ken's father, Paul F. Murawski notes that the strong academic foundation Ken received in the District allowed him to complete such a rigorous triple major at a school of CMU's caliber. Growing up, Murawski lived next door to John Saras, now the Athletics Coordinator at Baldwin High School. Saras recalls watching his games and looking up to him. "He was a role model, not only athletics, but also academics," reflects Saras.

After graduating CMU, Murawski worked in real estate, first in Pittsburgh and later in Ohio, serving as the managing director of the Cincinnati regional office for CBRE. He and his wife had four daughters, Amanda, Melissa, Kelly, and Anna. Ken's brother Paul R. Murawski reflects that Ken was a deeply caring individual and always took care of those around him.

In 2005 Murawski was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. After completing a rigorous treatment of chemotherapy, he went into remission. Murawski became a staunch advocate for Leukemia research and treatment. Just seven months after entering remission, he trained for and completed a 120 mile ride in Tucson, Arizona to raise funds for Leukemia research and treatment, personally raising over $5,000. In the years that followed, Murawski continued his advocacy. He served on the Tri-State Chapter Board of Trustees for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society from 2006 to 2012. Murawski brought Race to Anyplace, a fundraiser on stationary bikes that began in Pittsburgh, to Cincinnati. He founded the LLS Tri-State chapter of Race to Anyplace, which has raised over $500,000 in the decade since its inception. In honor of his contribution and outstanding life, the event has been renamed the Annual Ken Murawski Memorial Race to Anyplace. Ken's brother, Paul R. Murawski shares, "Ken's daughters participate in the event every year. The event now even has a specially painted black and gold bike that special youth honorees that are battling leukemia get to ride." Paul reflects on the far-reaching impact his brother had. He explains, "Ken was also the Corporate Chairman for LLS's Light the Night event for several years, helping to raise over $550,000. The American Cancer Society Greater Cincinnati Golf Classic honored Ken in 2006 as their Man of the Year."

In 2012 Murawski experienced a relapse of his Leukemia. Inspired by watching his battle with cancer, friends formed a team for Pedal for Scotland, a 100-mile ride from Glasgow to Edinburgh, raising a collective $70,000. Though Ken wanted to participate in the race, his doctors would not permit him to do so. Paul R. Murawski shares, "Ken was able to travel with the group and cross the finish line with the rest of his team, while in the midst of his battle with leukemia. A wonderful Scotsman let him have his bike for the end of the race. It was a moment that showed the best in our fellow men and Ken never forgot that act of kindness."

Ken Murawski died from complications of Leukemia in 2014. A testament to the strength of Ken's character, his impact continues after his death. Inspired by his life, 22 of Ken's friends and family, led by his daughter Amanda and brother Paul, formed Team Murawski and rode a century ride, 100 miles around Lake Tahoe. Paul shares, "Each member of Team Murawski had on their cycling jerseys a beautiful photo of Ken hugging his daughter and of him crossing the finish line in Scotland. The team rose over $160,000 for the LLS and a research grant was created in Ken's name to fund research for a cure for leukemia."