VESTAL, N.Y. (WIVT/WBGH) – A Vestal family continues to honor the legacy of their son and brother by raising millions of dollars for brain cancer research.

The Gerner family established StacheStrong in 2018 after GJ Gerner was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a fast-growing and aggressive form of brain cancer. The cancer’s average life expectancy is 12 to 15 months and there is no known cure.

StacheStrong is holding its 6th annual 5K Run and Walk this Saturday at Vestal High School.
Over its first five years, the non-profit has raised $5 million and made 35 grants to support brain cancer research.

GJ’s mother Betsy Gerner is the organization’s Director of Community Relations and Treasurer. She says GJ, his father, and brother all grew moustaches while he was going through his treatment, giving the non-profit its name.

“The reason he wanted to form StacheStrong was because he wanted to help others, his words, less fortunate than himself. Usually, maybe 5% of patients live beyond five years and he was convinced that he was going to be that person,” said Gerner.

GJ Gerner died two years after his diagnosis.

Betsy says 50 local businesses have donated $55,000 before the event has even started and another 50 have provided baskets for the basket raffle. She says the race has already raised more than the $142,000 generated last year.

The event begins at 3 p.m. on September 16. To pre-register or donate, go to