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Runners to log 1 million miles for childhood cancer cures

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and people across the country are putting on running shoes and getting active for the cause.

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to finding cures for all childhood cancers, is challenging supporters nationwide to collectively walk or run 1 million miles during this month as part of the Million Mile Run. Some Ohio State students and alumni are lacing up their shoes to join the Million Mile Run.

Brooke Miller, an Ohio State alumna, decided to form a group of co-workers and friends for the Million Mile Run after seeing a flyer at Easton Town Center about the run, she said in an email.

“After looking at what the event was and researching the charity a little bit, it seemed like a fun, healthy way to raise money/awareness for a great cause,” Miller said.

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation began in 2000 when 4-year-old cancer patient Alexandra “Alex” Scott, who died in 2004, decided she wanted to hold a lemonade stand to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer.

Alex’s first lemonade stand led to the creation of a national fundraising movement, which has raised more than $60 million for the cause, funding more than 300 pediatric cancer research projects nationally, according to the foundation’s website.

Miller said she began asking everyone she knew if they would be interested in participating in the Million Mile Run, and some of her co-workers at Pistacia Vera, a French bakery in German Village, agreed to participate.

Lucy Stearns, a third-year in music education and vocal performance and Miller’s co-worker, jumped on the opportunity to be a part of the cause.

“I wanted to be a part of the Run because it was an easy way to help a great cause. I’m able to run on my own time and it’s a good way to stay in shape,” Stearns said in an email. “I also like the way this brings us all together as a student body and as a workplace.”

The group has been raising money through donations and tips from customers at Pistacia Vera.

“Right now we’re just taking donations from friends and family,” Miller said. “Pistacia Vera is also donating tips this month to our team, which is so awesome.”

As for the actual running, the group is splitting up the mileage count.

“As of today, we are currently at 136.95 miles! Some people haven’t logged any miles yet, so I’m curious to see how many we end up with (for the month),” Miller said Friday.

The group has already surpassed its team goal of 100 miles, Miller said.

“I know that there are so many children out there suffering right now and they don’t deserve it. I love that Alex’s Lemonade Stand chooses the best studies to fund and support. I think they are really making a difference,” Miller said.

The Million Mile Run has more than 4,000 participants nationwide so far, Gillian Kocher, a public relations representative for the foundation, said in an email.

“Every single mile counts, no matter when they are logged throughout the month,” Kocher said.

Groups log their miles using the MapMyRun app, which is connected directly to the foundation’s website and uploads within 24 hours of the completed run, Kocher said.

“September has become highly recognizable within the childhood cancer community as an important time of year,” Liz Scott, co-executive director of the foundation, said in a press release. “However, for the general public, it still flies highly under the radar. We think the Million Mile Run has the ability and mass appeal to change that, one mile at a time.”

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