By Emily Haleck
BYU”s Cancer Awareness Group hopes to raise $20,000 for cancer research through its Rex Lee Run Saturday March 29.
Although only about 600 runners have registered for $10 each until now, Karrie Warnick, president of the group, said most registrations take place during the last couple of days.
“This year is the first year we”ve had registration online, and it”s picked up faster than last year,” said Warnick, a senior from Littleton, Colo., majoring in exercise science. “We”re expecting about 2,000 runners this year.”
Runners who register the day of the 5K race will pay $15, while some runners will choose to honor a cancer fighter by making an additional donation of at least $5. No matter how much participants pay, they can be assured that all proceeds (minus the cost of T-shirts) will go to BYU”s Cancer Research Center.
Janet Chamberlain, former wife of the late Rex Lee, said she is astounded at the work that goes on at the CRC.
“I”ve been very impressed with what BYU has done with cancer research,” she said. “It”s absolutely amazing.”
Chamberlain won”t be participating in the race this year due to recent surgery but said other members of her family will be. Since Lee was a devout runner of 13 marathons, Chamberlain said Lee would be pleased to know his children and grandchildren will be running to support cancer research.
Rex E. Lee was president of BYU from 1989 to 1996, when he died after an eight-year battle with two types of lymphatic cancer. Throughout his struggle, Lee remained active, even running until 1994, Chamberlain said.
“He was a devout runner, liked the exercise and camaraderie, and was a real advocate of any cancer research,” Chamberlain said. “He would be so excited and so thrilled that anything having his name on it would continue cancer research.”
Chamberlain said she and her family members are so grateful for the growing participation in the run and the money it will raise to further cancer research.
Warnick said she expects this year”s run to be the most successful ever.
Through extensive community outreach, Warnick said, the run has been able to secure strong business sponsors and over 70 volunteers for the race.
“This year, we”re also getting a lot of high school runners but, by far, college students are the greatest support,” Warnick said.
To encourage college students and others in the community to participate, CAG is offering different prizes and awards. Medals with gift certificates will be given to men and women in several age brackets, while other prizes that include Southwest Airlines tickets, stereo system, DVD player, movie tickets and gift certificates to local restaurants will be given through a drawing.
Chamberlain said she hopes people will participate because, eventually, everyone”s lives will be affected in some way by cancer.
“There is probably not one student who will get through their lifetime without cancer touching their lives in some way, and this is a way to support research while getting the benefit of exercise and camaraderie.”
Warnick sees the race as a win/win situation.
“I think it”s one of the few things that doesn”t take a lot of time, but it”s fun and gives you an opportunity to help find a cure for cancer.”
Registrations are still being accepted online at rexleerun.org until Friday or day-of-race registration will take place from 7 to 8:30 a.m. at the race site (the BYU parking lot across from Brick Oven).