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Running for a Cure

PLATTSBURGH Sara Hammel isnt just running for a cause when she heads to the RocknRoll Marathon in San Diego June 3, she is running in honor of those who have succumb to or have been affected by leukemia and lymphoma - and their families. As Hammel, a Plattsburgh State University student who lives in Champlain, was out fundraising she met some people, including a man, whose grandfather, Morris Poulton, passed away after battling leukemia. When I saw the tears in his eyes I began to realize just how much it affected people, she said. I didnt choose this run because of any personal experiences with this disease, I chose the RocknRoll Marathon as a member of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Societys Team in Training because of its reputation of putting so much money into research, Hammel explained. I am running for my honored teammate Betsy Whitefield, who survived leukemia and Margaret Gigurd, another survivor. Hammel will also run for Alex Kende and Vonna Strack, both of whom lost their battles, Strack at just 14. Im completing this event in honor of all individuals who are battling blood cancers, she said. These people are the real heroes on our team, and we need your support to cross the ultimate finish line a cure! Hammel, who has been training since Jan. 28, never thought shed even make a 10-mile run in her lifetime, but has found herself surrounded by inspiration and motivation. She plans to decorate her purple jersey with names of those she will run in honor of. Here in the Plattsburgh area, the Team in Training consists of five members, but the headquarters in Albany has about 200, Hammel said. They are a great support unit offering fundraising tips and that extra motivation that Hammel needs on some days. I have raised $2,600 so far and still have $1,400 to go, she said of her fundraising efforts. Of the teammates Hammel is the only one who chose the 26-mile RocknRoll Marathon as her goal. Others have chosen to compete elsewhere. Im not in it for the competition, I just want to finish. For the first time in my life I feel like I am doing something for others while accomplishing my own goals as well, she said.

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