Marathon runner speaks to students

first_imgLazarex on Campus, a student organization founded last year to support the Lazarex Cancer Foundation, hosted runner Julie Weiss on Wednesday for a screening of the documentary Spirit of the Marathon II.Finish line finale · Marathon runner Julie Weiss, left, strikes a pose with Gwendolen Twist, producer of the Spirit of the Marathon II documentary. – Samuel Chang | Daily TrojanSpirit of the Marathon II captures Weiss and six other runners as they complete the Rome Marathon. This race was the first in Weiss’s mission to complete 52 marathons in 52 weeks to raise $1 million for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network after she lost her father to the disease in 2010.Weiss now serves as a brand ambassador for the Lazarex Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit organization that links cancer patients with FDA-approved clinical trails and provides financial support for treatment and travel costs. She also leads the fundraising efforts of Lazarex’s Team for Life, which raises money to support the foundation through endurance sports.“I think the movie will inspire people, not just to run a marathon but, also to fundraise for the cause,” said Joanna Liang, co-founder of Lazarex on Campus. “I think having Julie Weiss there will be inspiring because she runs for a cause that is so great.”Weiss completed her goal to run 52 marathons in 52 weeks in 2013 at the ASICS Los Angeles Marathon. She said she became involved with the Lazarex Cancer Foundation because she strongly believed in the support system the program provides, as well as the opportunity to offer end stage cancer patients one more option.“I really enjoy being part of the team, and how we all support each other, we’re all in this together,” Weiss said. “It’s kind of like a family that no one wants to be a part of — the pancreatic cancer community — but we get together to support each other and lift each other up.”Lazarex Cancer Foundation started Team for Life as a fundraising campaign due to the connection between crossing the finish line of a marathon, and crossing the finish line in fighting cancer. For Weiss, this connection holds true in every race she runs.“I dedicate each run to someone affected by cancer,” Weiss said. “I think about the person I’m running for, someone who passed away or still fighting cancer, or [a] survivor because it provides a deeper meaning to the whole event and inspires everyone around you.”Lesley Allison, Lazarex on Campus’s liason to the Lazarex Cancer Foundation, said the screening of Spirit of the Marathon II supports the three-pronged mission of Lazarex on Campus: to raise awareness about the Lazarex Cancer Foundation, to reach the local community through working with the Joint Educational Project to teach students healthy living and cancer prevention, and to fundraise directly for the foundation as well as through Team for Life. This year, 10 members of Lazarex on Campus will train as group for the Star Wars 10K at Disneyland, and run with Team for Life. Lazarex on Campus is also planning to have a group train for the L.A. Marathon in March.“We hope the documentary screening will generate interest in Lazarex on Campus as a club itself. We’re trying to keep it open, and a place for everyone because we can use any and all support we can get,” Allison said.Allison has been supporting Lazarex on Campus co-founders Liang and Lexi Riopelle as they have worked to lay the foundation for the organization throughout the past year. This year there are about 20 members of Lazarex on Campus, Jiang said.“I just think they are an amazing group of students,” Allison said. “[Liang and Riopelle] in particular put a lot of time and energy into the foundation. Laying the foundation is the hardest piece so they’ve taken time, effort and dedication.”Erin Wright, a junior majoring in psychology, became involved in Lazarex on Campus when the organization started because the Lazarex Cancer Foundation was founded in her hometown, and she volunteered for the organization growing up.“Cancer is so prevalent today. Everyone knows someone who is affected by cancer and Lazarex is such a great organization because the money doesn’t go to research but directly to end stage cancer patients who need that money to prolong their life,” Wright said.last_img

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