A cancer survivor runs across Iowa to raise money for St. Jude.
When Scott Mills resolved to fulfill a dream of running across his home state of Iowa, he thought his quest could benefit St. Jude. He called his journey Run it Forward.
Through social media, reaching out to personal contacts, and selling Run it Forward T-shirts, Mills, who lives in Des Moines, Iowa, raised more than $11,000 for St. Jude.
The married father of three won his own battle with cancer in November 2014. “It’s one thing for an old guy like me to have cancer. But I cannot imagine if it was one of my kids who was diagnosed,” Mills, 44, said of his reason for choosing to support St. Jude.
Since no family receives a bill from St. Jude, Mills was also inspired by the way the hospital alleviates financial concerns from parents worried about their child’s life.
Mills' run took 10 days in August 2015, and covered 271 miles. A friend, Steve Buser, trailed Mills on a bicycle for support.
Three days in, Mills adjusted his routine; making sure to be on the road before 6 a.m., walking up to five miles to loosen his legs, and completing runs by noon. Once he adopted this strategy, Mills chuckled when he called the final seven days “easy.”
The trek across Iowa to help St. Jude was part of a resolve Mills had to “do something ultra.” He was training for a 100-mile ultra-marathon when he found the lump that led to his cancer diagnosis. He abandoned the 100-mile race, but he completed the regular marathon the event offered. Since he began running at age 12, Mills has completed 30 marathons, and estimates he has run half a million miles.
“Make every day count,” he said. “Have fun. Find out what you are passionate about, and just do it. Don’t make excuses about it.”
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