Runners on a mission to fight rare cancer - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Runners on a mission to fight rare cancer

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FAIRFAX, Vt. - A group of runners is on a mission across the U.S. to raise awareness about a rare illness.

With each step, they hope to change lives. "This is day 21. We have about 750 miles under our belt right now," said Landon Cooper, Founder of the group, Miles 2 Give.

Cooper and three fellow runners are on a mission -- a fight against the rare form of cancer Ewings Sarcoma. They will run 10,000 miles across the U.S. "I slowly discovered there's about 5 or 6 other people in my circle of life that had this type of cancer. I knew I had to do more about it," Cooper said.

Cooper began the non-profit in 2009. Each mile is dedicated to a warrior fighting sarcoma. Last year Cooper ran 157 days for 270 people who battled the disease, raising more than $100,000 toward cancer research. This year he hopes to raise $500,000. The team began in Times Square and will circle the U.S. before crossing the finish line right where they began.

Monday, he runs for 17 year-old Kristoph Mecklenburg from Tupper Lake, NY who lost his battle in April. "I miss him so much and I wish he didn't get cancer, but it happens. Kristoph lived a pretty full life, even in 20 years," said Mecklenburg's brother, Darrell. Darrell will also run with the team for his brother -- and others. "Instead of following them, I'm going to be running with the Miles 2 Give team, because I'm gonna be supporting my brother, yelling his name. I love him so much."

Everyone the team meets along the way leaves their mark. "The ceiling of the RV is called the 'Dome of Tribute.' It's where we add the names of those we run for. It could be somebody lost, battled or survived," Cooper said.

"The Miles 2 Give team running for my brother and all the other people that have cancer -- it means so much to me, and them and my family and we're just so grateful," Darrell said.

As they prepare to continue their journey across the U.S. from Fairfax, Vermont. It's the adrenaline of inspiring others that pushes them to create awareness.

Darrell and his family will run for one mile, but the runners will cover up to 60 miles as they run to Rochester, New York. And they'll keep running until every dollar is raised and every warrior is given a fighting chance. "We're gonna run till the end," Cooper said.

For anyone interested in running with Miles-2-Give, click here.
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