Y students go the extra mile to benefit cancer research



    Two BYU students are running a race against cancer in the Boston Marathon in April.

    Stephanie Griffin, 20, a junior from Zionsville, Penn., majoring in dietetics, qualified for the Boston Marathon in the fall of 1997. She and her friend, Greg Hart, 24, a senior from Heber City majoring in chemistry, will run the race to benefit cancer research.

    During the latter part of 1995, Griffin’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had both radiation and chemotherapy treatments and is now in remission.

    “My mom had cancer, but she is better now. So I decided I wanted to run the marathon as a tribute of gratitude for her health,” Griffin said.

    Griffin said when she told her mother about her mission, she was flattered by Griffin’s choice and dedication to a great cause. She was thrilled that her daughter was helping out the American Cancer Society.

    The two are earning money by soliciting donations from various companies around the region.

    “We are just sending out letters to companise this week,” Griffin said. “Every company that has donated more than $200 will get to put a small emblem on the T-shirts that Greg and I are making. This way we will be advertising their company along with the cause.”

    Tara Avena, the area program director of the American Cancer Society, said she thinks what Griffin and Hart are doing is great.

    “(This) is what the American Cancer Society is about. It’s a community effort. It’s about people in the community helping out and trying to make a difference,” Avena said.

    Griffin and Hart welcome donations from any company, organization or private parties.

    Getting into the Boston Marathon was no small task. To qualify, Griffin had to run 26.2 miles in under three hours and 40 minutes.

    “I ran the Moab Half-Marathon a few years back and then I decided to run in the St. George Marathon. After I qualified for the Boston Marathon, I decided that I wanted to run this time with a purpose,” Griffin said.

    Hart said he also qualified for the Boston Marathon by running the St. George Marathon in under three hours and 10 minutes, the requirement for males in his age range.

    Hart said he had always intended on running the Boston Marathon, but he did not have a cause other than his own interest in the sport.

    “Stephanie was the main spearhead for the idea. We both wanted to run the Boston Marathon, but she thought of running for a cause.”

    Hart admitted that fortunately he has never had any close family members suffer from cancer, yet he feels that donating to the orgainization is a wonderful choice.

    “It is a good cause to help out with. I feel just great about doing it,” Hart said.

    Hart and Griffin are both training for the run in Boston, along with 12,000 other participants.

    Griffin said she runs six times a week. She runs mini-runs daily and one long run once a week. She totals about 50 miles of running weekly.

    Hart has a similar training regimen.

    “I have built my week totals up to about 40 miles a week. I run about two to four miles every day but Saturday when I run between 10 and 20 miles,” Hart said.

    For more information about the American Cancer Society, contact the Provo branch at 899 N. Freedom Blvd., Provo, Utah 84604.

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