Runners for life

Runners for life

By Alan Franciose

Some students run for fun, some to relieve stress, and others to stay in shape. Then, there are students who put channel their physical efforts towards a greater good.

With the Boston Marathon and other events quickly approaching, several students have pledged to run in races for a cause – from the American Liver Foundation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, in locations as far away as San Diego.

Senior theatre major Julie Mercurio is currently raising money and training to run in the Rock ‘n Roll San Diego Half Marathon to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society June 6.

She will run a member of the Team in Training, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s group training collaborative to get enthusiastic people running together in events to raise money and awareness for the society.

Mercurio said she found out about Team in Training from flyers she received in race packets from previous races she ran, and was instantly interested in running with the organization.

“It seemed like a really great cause,” Mercurio said. “I wanted to do something that would not only challenge myself, but also would be helping others along the way.”

Mercurio said she did not have a strong personal connection to the society when she joined. She did not personally know anyone who had leukemia or lymphoma, but in the course of fundraising she heard so many stories from people who donated to her cause that she developed a relationship with them.

“It makes the cause much more worthwhile after hearing those stories,” she said.

Mercurio is not alone in her efforts; her team is comprised of roughly 40 people, many whom are professionals. She is the only undergraduate in her team.

“It’s important to know that a lot of the people in Team in Training have never done a marathon before,” Mercurio said. “Team in Training gives you the tools and its up to you to make it happen.”

This is not the first time Mercurio has run for a charitable cause; she’s ran races in Boston for the Dana Farber Institute, as well as ran in The Race For the Cure in Louisville, KY.

Mercurio said she has already managed to raise nearly $3,500 and is well on her way to her goal of $4,300, which she hopes to get by the time she graduates on May 7.

Mercurio is not the only student on the Northeastern campus who is running for a cause. Four students will run the Boston Marathon in support of the American Liver Foundation. Erica Stoloff, Thomas Romano, Casey Fletcher, and Jillian McNabb will join 239 runners from 26 states who will be running the marathon as part of the American Liver Foundation’s Run For Research team.

Thomas Romano, a fourth-year physical therapy major, is running the Boston Marathon for a second time this year.

“At first, it’s the most daunting thing imaginable,” Romano said. “It’s amazing to see how many of your friends, family, and coworkers show up to support you.”

Romano said he is grateful for the opportunity to run for the American Liver Foundation, and the chance make a difference while he does an activity he loves. For him, it’s the ultimate win-win.

Romano has managed to raise nearly $3,500 for the marathon, which will take place April 19. He doesn’t plan to stop there, either: He plans to create his own event in his hometown of Millbury to raise funds to aid in research and awareness of colon cancer.

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