May 12, 2017
I have signed up for the St Jude Memphis Marathon for December 2 of this year. This will be my 7th marathon, and my 6th running for St Jude as a "Hero." Hero is a St Jude title. I am NOT a hero. I'm just a guy who loves to run, loves kids, and loves to help people.
With your help, I hope to raise $2500 for the kids of St Jude. To help accomplish my goal, I ran 50 miles on my 50th birthday (May 10 of this year). Total running time was 8 hours, 26 minutes and 32 seconds.
I am running and raising money for a number of reasons:
There are four people I recall through my life who had childhood leukemia. When I was a lad in Dexter, MO, Jill Pippins battled leukemia. She was older than I, and I didn't know her, but she was the first young person I ever knew who was sick with an illness that might kill her.
Not long after we moved to Alabama in 1996, Colby Gilliland fought this disease and lost. I recall how the community rallied on her behalf. And just a few short years ago, Jacob Huff BEAT leukemia, thanks to God and St Jude. I coached Jacob in baseball when he was a boy, and he has a great family. The initials of these three people will be on my left hand as I run.
On my right hand will be the initials of a crazy local judge who, on June 1, 2011, convinced me I had what it took to run a marathon. I run to honor him with deep appreciation for our friendship.
I am running for Carson Head. Carson was the 8 year old daughter of two of my high school friends. Carson was a St Jude patient who lost her battle with cancer in 2015. Just typing this brings a lump in my throat, heaviness in my chest and tears to my eyes. Her parents are marvelous people and fellow Christians. Their names will be engraved in my heart as I run.
I am running for Adam Cruthirds, whom I met at the Avett Brothers concert in Memphis last year. Adam is battling cancer and ran the half marathon just days before having surgery. And also for Kristina Hunsaker and Allie Allen, whom I only know through Adam, who are two of the most beautiful girls you will ever see... and living proof that having hair is overrated!
I also run for other reasons, among them:
Families never receive a bill from St Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food -- because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
Because the majority of St Jude funding comes from people like you, St Jude has the freedom to focus on what matters most -- saving kids regardless of their financial situation.
St Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90% by 2020.