Students to run marathon, fight leukemia

In the past month, Augusta Babson ’00 and Rebecca Young ’00 have been running religiously in preparation for a marathon in Anchorage, Alaska, which will raise money for the American Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. But Babson and Young are also running out of time to raise donations.

In the summer of 1999, Babson and Young committed to raising $4050 each for the American Leukemia Society’s Team in Training Program. But with only a little more than a month left to raise the money, together, they are short $4500. If they cannot raise the money, they will not be able to take part in the Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon on June 17 and the money they have raised to advance cancer research thus far will have been for naught.

The Team in Training Program presents people interested in running, cycling or walking with the opportunity to raise money for cancer research. To participate, runners, cyclists and walkers must raise a certain amount of money. Team in Training then provides participants with coaches, transportation and entry into the event. The program sends fund-raisers to races all around the world. seventy-five percent of the money raised goes to advance research blood-related cancers like leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and Hodgkin’s disease.

For Babson and Young, the opportunity to run a marathon motivated them to endure intense physical training. Both are former athletes: Babson, who ran in the Boston Marathon last year, was a cross-country runner in high school, and Young was a skier here at Williams.

But there is much more to their cause than personal fitness. Babson, an art history major from Alexandria, Va., decided to run the marathon shortly after her grandfather died of cancer last year. “I get to run in a marathon – something I enjoy – while advancing a cause that is very important to me. It’s a win-win thing for me,” Babson said.

The disease also has had an impact on the life of Young, an English major from Glen Ellyn, Ill. “I’ve had friends with leukemia; some have beaten it, but some have died. I’d like to run this marathon in honor of those friends,” Young said.

Young has also sponsored a third-grader from Pittsfield who suffers from leukemia. During the marathon, she will wear a bracelet with the girl’s name on it. Young visits the girl to support her through her fight with leukemia, the number one disease killer of children.

Babson and Young say it will be difficult to complete their donation goal without the help of the Williams community. “It might be difficult to raise the money, but we’re going to try our hardest. It’s a great cause and we believe the disease affects a lot of people, including many in the Williams community, which is why we are asking for help to accomplish our goal,” Young said.

The disease has had an impact on many Williams students’ lives. In just 1998, the community lost a model student-athlete in Matt Stauffer, who died after a long battle with the disease. And, no doubt, the disease has touched others at Williams. After all, blood-related cancers strike around 103,000 people a year, and approximately 53,000 die each year from the disease. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America continues to research possible cures and treatments, and in the past 30 years survival rates have doubled.

Babson and Young have decided to team together in hopes of raising the remaining $4500 they need. They will be accepting donations from anyone interested in supporting their cause in Baxter Hall mailroom on Wednesday, March 8 from 12 to 4 p.m., and Friday, March 10 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Anyone who is interested in making a donation but will not be able to see them on Wednesday or Friday can get into contact with them through email (00asb@williams.edu or 00ray@williams.edu) or direct donations to S.U. boxes 1057 or 3277.

To learn more about the Team in Training Program or American Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, visit www.lsa-teamtraining.org.