29th Annual Cougs vs. Cancer 5k draws community, campus support

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2024 marked BYU’s 29th Cougs vs. Cancer run. The 5k race honored former BYU president, Rex E. Lee, who died from lymphoma cancer in 1995.

“I was also here for my cousin, Roman Groves. He fought through cancer and just came out of it in January. He was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma,” BYU student Ty Janks said.

Janks has had firsthand experience with the profound impact a cancer diagnosis can have on a family.

“He was in there fighting for his life and fortunately, I feel like my wife and I were able to be there throughout a lot of the process and it meant a lot. You don’t really realize how serious cancer is until it affects someone you really love and it doesn’t really become real until that is a part of your family or friends that are having to go through that struggle,” Janks said.

The race means so much to Janks and so much to Sydney Blair.

“I lost my mom. My step-daughters lost their mom to cancer and we have a daughter right now fighting Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” Blair, a 5k participant, said.

The two joined more than 1,300 other participants, ranging in ages from 5 to 80 years old. Some ran, others jogged and some opted to walk the 5k.

“Fairly easy in this case. It’s called old age,” Michael Kelley, 72 years old, said about finishing the race.

Many runners shared stories of family members who passed from cancer or are currently in remission.

“It was so fun to see the huge group here take off from the starting line and it was just a great feeling in the stadium,” Blair said.

The 5k run brings people together with similar experiences and provides a way to raise funds to help those who are struggling with cancer.

“I hope it gets bigger and bigger and we can raise money for cancer research,” Blair said.

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