Teens prepare for 12-mile run for cancer awareness

Proceeds will benefit Mooresville/Lake Norman Relay for Life

by Justin Vick

CONCORD – Stephanie Schauder, Tim Gruber and some of their classmates will run 12 miles from Presbyterian Hospital in Huntersville to Cannon School in Concord next month to raise money for Relay for Life of Mooresville/Lake Norman.

Stephanie, a Cannon senior who runs cross country, has been a supporter of the American Cancer Society’s annual fundraiser since her father, Craig, was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer two years ago.

Her father’s cancer battle helped her realize how many people suffer from the disease.

“As soon as he was diagnosed, so many people came up and expressed their sympathy,” Stephanie said. “It was amazing to see how many people said their family and friends had died from cancer.”

Stephanie’s father died in January, and she remains committed to helping find a cure.

She started her own Relay for Life team, Cougars Fighting Cancer, to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The 25-member team raised nearly $7,000 last year through donations and fundraisers.

She wanted to up the ante to $12,000 for the next relay, scheduled for June 3, 2011, at Mooresville High School. Her friend, Tim, had an idea.

“I always thought it’d be cool just to run from my house to school,” said Tim, also a star on Cannon’s cross-country team. “So I just threw the idea out to Stephanie when we were running.”

At first, Stephanie thought Tim was crazy. Stephanie envisioned just the two of them running, with her mother driving behind them. But by the end of their run, she thought the idea could work.

She sought guidance from Cliff Hunnicutt, co-chairman of the local Relay for Life. The effort snowballed from there.

“The inspiration that little girl has been to me, I was going bust my tail to help make it happen,” Hunnicutt said. He told her the only way their idea would work was to make it really big.

So they asked administrators at Cannon School if they would support the event, dubbed Cannon Runs for Cancer Research. The school agreed.

“Stephanie and Tim are accomplished runners here who wanted to do something to raise money for a cause they believe in,” said Todd Hartung, Cannon School’s advancement director. “It was really neat to see them run with this.”

Stephanie, Tim and others will start running at 11 a.m. Nov. 12 at Presbyterian Hospital, just a few minutes from their homes. They’ll run at a 10-minute pace to Cannon School, while escorted by troopers from the North Carolina Highway Patrol. They’ll arrive at Cannon at about 1 p.m. to music performed by a DJ. They’ve even arranged for Dave Wottle, a gold medal runner from the 1972 Summer Olympics, to make remarks.

Participants may also join in on the last 5 miles or take part in a 3-mile fun run/walk at Cannon School.

“They came up with way to make it all-inclusive with the idea that not everyone can run 12 miles,” Hartung said. “It’s really taken off. We have a lot of people looking forward to running it.”

Registration for each event costs $20, which includes a shirt. E-mail Stephanie at sschauder@cannonschool.org to participate or sponsor the event.

For more information, go to www.mooresvillerelay.org and find the Cannon Runs for Cancer Research team page.

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