This Saturday BYU will once again honor its 10th president and run to raise money for cancer research in a 17-year tradition.
Rex Edwin Lee should be a familiar name for students at the Y. Besides being president of BYU, he was a law clerk for Bryon White, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice and a solicitor general in the Ronald Reagan administration. He also argued an impressive 59 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.
During his presidency, Lee fought with lymphoma for nearly a decade before passing away in 1996, just over two months after leaving the school.
In memory of Lee, the BYU Cancer Research Center puts together and hosts the Rex Lee Run and raises money that directly funds the school’s cancer research program.
This year, the Rex Lee Run Against Cancer will be held Saturday, March 17 from 8:30 – 11:30 a.m. Participants still have time to register for the 5K or 10K runs.
The fee for the 5K is $15 until Saturday and $20 to register that day. The 10K is $20 and $25 on Saturday. All of the money raised goes toward BYU’s on-campus research program.
Last year the run raised around $35,000, and Kali Smith, program coordinator for the run, is optimistic this year’s event will be just as successful.
Early Rex Lee Runs had only a couple hundred participants, but now that number has grown dramatically to about 2,000.
The Rex Lee Run is more than a race. While medals are awarded to those with the fastest times, the spirit of this race is one of unity more than competition. It’s a run everyone can participate in, regardless of skill level.
“We have young children that participate, families that participate, senior citizens who participate, even moms with strollers,” Smith said. “It’s a great place for people who have never participated in something like this, to try something new and feel the camaraderie that exists in the community.”
Tiffany Wixom, an art history major from Draper, knows first hand the experience that comes from running for someone who is dealing with cancer. Wixom’s mother is a cancer survivor, and she says these runs are a great way to show her support.
“I like running 5K cancer runs because I know the effects first hand,” Wixom said. “There is a real spirit of unity when you run for that cause.”
Wixom’s mother, Shannon, finds these events not only as a source of strength but of motivation as well.
“Participating in the runs makes me feel like I’m not alone in the fight,” said Shannon Wixom. “Crossing the finish line empowers me that I can do and overcome anything.”
Smith, who lost her grandfather to cancer, feels that these events also demonstrate that no one is alone in this fight.
“Each of us has had someone in their lives affected by cancer and felt those effects,” Smith said. “They wonder what they can do or how they can help. This is a tangible, easy way to help in the cause and learn that you are not the only one dealing with the loss or sadness of cancer.”
For more information, students can visit the Rex Lee Run Against Cancer Facebook page or their website, rexleerun.byu.edu.