BILLINGS – A 28-person team whose goal is to run from San Francisco to Boston to raise awareness for young adults with cancer made a stop in Billings Monday.
The group is with the Ulman Foundation, a nonprofit based in Baltimore, Md., that supports young adults with cancer.
“Young adults face a number of unique challenges, social isolation and fertility preservation being some of them,” said runner Tyler Schouch. “Challenges that are unique to them opposed to geriatric, or pediatric patients. The money isn’t raised for research. It’s raised for support and care that affects patients day to day.”
The team started Monday morning in Bozeman, and by 5 p.m. they were running on the West End of Billings.
They run in two pairs with each person running 12 miles each day. There’s a team van that follows the runners allowing them to pack on the miles. By the time they reach Boston, they will have run about 48,000 miles.
The team has run through scenic places like Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, but there is some time for days off.
“We don’t run every day,” Schouch said. “Some days off we have rest days, and other days are service days. We’ll go volunteer to take the burden off the staff at places like the Ronald McDonald house. Also interacting with some of the patients there to bring them some positivity. Let them know that we’re out there, we’re doing this in honor of people with cancer currently, and they’re not alone in their fight.”
Along with the volunteer work, each member of the team dedicates their miles of the day to someone they know battling cancer. They do this by writing that person’s name on their leg.
“It’s nice to write down names on our arms or our legs or wherever,” Schouch said. “It just serves as a constant reminder of what we’re here for. Because running across the country is a great time with all these incredible people. But at the end of the day, we’re all here for very personal reasons and very serious reasons. So it’s good to remember that as well.”
To donate to the Ulman Foundation’s team, or to help them out along their way, click here.
Reporting by y Mitch Lagge for MTN News