Running the 13.1 miles of a half-marathon requires strong legs, lungs and will. To run as a St. Jude Hero takes enormous heart, as well.
“I’ve always had a heart for children’s hospital charities,” says Elizabeth Newton of North Carolina, who ran 10 half-marathons in 2017—five as a St. Jude Hero.
Newton has a habit of giving 10 percent of her income to charity. That tradition, along with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series last year, has helped her raise about $20,000 to help support the mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
She first toured St. Jude as a college student.
“Obviously, the kids know that they’re fighting, and the parents know that they’re fighting, but I feel like St. Jude does so much to try to distract from that,” she says, “from the way the hallways are painted to the fact that the parents don’t have to worry about paying for food or housing. A lot of the stressors are taken off of them.”
In addition to the halves, Newton ran the full Boston Marathon in April. Her heart—and her personal experience with cancer—keep her going.
“I’m a two-time cancer survivor,” she says. “It happened my senior year of college, so I was much older. It was melanoma, and I didn’t have to do chemo or radiation. But, I understand how stressful it can be as a 22-year-old dealing with cancer and watching my mom have to be strong while her adult child is going through something like that. I can’t imagine what it’s like for a parent who has a child going through it.
“St. Jude does so much more than just treat the illness,” she continues. “They treat the whole child and the whole family, and that is huge. It’s not just going to the hospital, getting your treatment and leaving.”
For more information on running as a St. Jude Hero, visit stjude.org/heroes.
From Promise, Winter 2018