A relay of runners raising money for cancer research will run through Iowa July 15th through the 18th on their cross country trek. The Million Dollar Marathon consists of 160 cancer survivors who are running the traditional 26.2 miles of a marathon for each leg of the relay.
Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds are supporting the run. Reynolds says its a great way to raise awareness of cancer research. “The team also aims to educate the public about the connections betweem diet and exercise and cancer. In the next year, approximately 600,000 Americans will die of cancer,” Reynolds says.
“The American Cancer Society estimates that up to one third the cancers that occur in the U.S. are due to poor nutrition, physical inactivity, excess weight, and all are entirely preventable.” Reynolds says the identifying the health risks for cancer is also something they try to highlight in their Live Healthy Iowa campaign.
“Maintaining a healthy body weight, being physically active on a regular basis, eating a healthy diet, are as important as not using tobacco products in helping to reduce cancer,” Reynolds says. Richard Deming is the medical director of the Mercy Cancer Center Radiation Oncology in Des Moines.
Dr. Deming also founded “Above and Beyond Cancer,” a charity that celebrates cancer survivors, and ran in the first leg of the Million Dollar Marathon as it started in the state of Washington.
“The runners are continuing, passing the baton fill with the names of individuals who have died with cancer as the baton is passed 4,000 miles across the country. This is done to celebrate the strength and stamina and courage of cancer survivors who have taken up this challenge — not just for themselves — but to raise money that will be used to help with cancer research and to help provide funding for cancer programs,” Demming explains.
The runners will come through Des Moines on July 17th, but Demming says you don’t have to wait until then to contribute to the cause on-line. “You can get to that website at www.aboveandbeyondcancer.org and make a contribution to the individual runners or the organization as a whole,” Demming says.
The governor and lieutenant governor urge Iowans to turn out in Des Moines July 17th as the runners come through, and the public is invited to participate in one-mile run-walk in downtown Des Moines.