Cross Country Bears Down on Blood-Borne Disease

Lennae Starr, Staff Reporter

Mud-splattered calves were a common sight last Friday as the cross-country team wrapped up their sixth annual “Who Do You Run For?” event.

“Who Do You Run For?” is a 24-hour long jog-a-thon in which members of the cross-country team run laps around Ankeny. They sign up for hour-long shifts to ensure there is always someone running, and many people sign up for more than one. This year, over 400 miles were run by the cross-country team alone.

Each year, the team supports a different organization. The money raised this year went to DKMS, which works on finding a cure for blood-borne cancers like leukemia and lymphoma. Treatment is currently very limited, but bone marrow transfusions greatly improve patients’ immune systems.Contributed by Lucy O’Sulliavan

There was a special opportunity for both the runners and non-runners at the event: registering to become a bone marrow donor. With a simple swab of the mouth, anyone attending the event in any capacity was able to join a database of potential donors over eight million strong.

“It’s really cool to see non-cross country people participating in the event and we definitely appreciate it,” says junior Maisie Thomas.

Thomas has participated in the event all three years she has been on the team.

“The best part [about the event] is that it is a way for our team to make a difference by supporting cancer research and treatment centers.”

Silas Miller, a sophomore on the team, ran from 12 a.m. to 2 a.m., beginning his Friday with a cold and rainy jog around the field.

“Going into it I was pretty excited. I’d seen the XC team doing this event last year and I thought it was super cool — now that I’m a part of the team, participating was a lot of fun. The best part was being able to make a difference by raising awareness/money for DKMS and getting to run at the same time,” said Miller. “Thanks so much to everyone who cheered us on or came and did a few laps with us, it was really cool to see so many people getting involved even in the late hours of the night”.

The chances of finding a compatible bone marrow donor are slim, so every person that registers gives that much more hope to people who need it. You can request a swab kit at the DKMS and Be The Match websites.