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Teenager Mason Mazurek and his aunt embrace at the finish line after the Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Strong reason to run

A teen wanted to make running a marathon meaningful and memorable while challenging himself. So he picked a charity he knew would motivate him — St. Jude.

Running in his first marathon, Mason Mazurek wanted it to be meaningful and memorable. Raising important funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as a St. Jude Hero®, he achieved those goals before he ever started the race.

The path to the finish line for the 16-year-old from Fort Mill, S.C., wasn’t easy. Mason and a friend decided to run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, a city where both had lived at one time. However, just a day after Mason signed up to run and raise money for St. Jude, his friend backed out. That immediately presented a hurdle for Mason.

I was on the hook and there was no going back. Basically, my parents explained to me the commitment and told me that once I sign up there is no backing out. That is something I have been told all my life.
Mason Mazurek, on running his first marathon

Running as a St. Jude Hero offered Mason the motivation he needed. As a St. Jude Hero, Mason participated in one of the most exclusive races in the U.S. while also raising important funds for the kids of St. Jude.


“I’m not a natural runner and I had to overcome a lot of challenges,” Mason said. “I have flat feet, and after visiting a specialist, I had to wear special shoes for months and perform daily exercises.”

The drive to accomplish his $1,500 fundraising commitment fundraising commitment helps ensure that no family ever receives a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about his helping their child live. Not only had Mason never run a marathon, he hadn’t run much further than a 5K, or a little more than three miles.

To ensure his commitment, Mason said he picked a charity he knew would motivate him. With no real history of running and having to train by himself, he needed a strong reason to run. He found that reason in St. Jude, which is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. 

Running for kids fighting to stay alive while I enjoy the freedom to wrestle, kayak and workout seemed like an obvious choice.
16-year-old Mason Mazurek

With his first marathon now behind him, Mason isn’t sure there are more in his future. Whatever he chooses to do, Mason says one thing is certain, “If the opportunity presents itself, I will always support St. Jude.”


Help our families focus on their sick child, not medical bills.

When you donate monthly, your gift means families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.

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