Group of runners go the distance for cancer patients - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Group of runners go the distance for cancer patients

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LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) -

Two women from different walks of life are connected through cancer and caring

Christine Bickley of Lexington is a wife, mom of Ella and Jonah and the running coach of the Lymphoma & Leukemia Society's Team in Training, a group of runners raising money toward a cure for this type cancer. They run in honor of patients with the disease.

"I have a shirt that Team in Training furnished me that says, if you think training is tough, you ought to try chemotherapy," Bickley said.

Christine runs in honor of Judith Laird, a White Knoll High School junior in the International Baccalaureate program at Lexington High School. Now in remission, Judith was diagnosed with Burkitt's lymphoma almost two years ago when her family took her to the hospital because her stomach was protruding.

"And when they did the scan they found the mass the size of a softball in my abdomen area," Laird said.

Judith underwent chemotherapy and the removal of a few lymph nodes under her arm - another location of the cancer.

"So, instead of going to school, I was in the hospital not really being able to go out and do everything I normally would," Laird said.

Its reasons like that Christine felt lead to raise money and run with Judith in mind.

"We run in their honor and we're doing what they can't do," Bickley said. "The Lord gave us the legs to do for them what they can't do at this point in their lives."

Since 1988, Team in Training has had more than 600,000 athlete participants and raised more than $1.4 billion.

"You think about the people you're running for," Bickley said. "You realize why you're getting up at 7 o'clock in the morning in 20 degree weather and you're coming out and running because you're running for someone who is fighting for their life."

These two women find symbolism between running 26.2 miles and fighting cancer.

"A marathon you have to be able to push yourself and keep going even though you want to give up," Laird said. "It's the same in the case of going through chemo or radiation where you just have to keep going and you can't lose hope and you can't lose hope of the finish line in the distance."

Fortunately, Judith said she feels confident she's already won her race.

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