WVU faculty member runs to help cancer patients
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A West Virginia University Political Science faculty member is lacing up to help cancer patients in memory of his mother.

An avid runner, Jason Thomas is participating in several races this summer to raise money for a fund he established at WVU’s Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center named after his mother, who lost her battle to esophageal cancer two years ago.

The Carolyn E. Miller Steps for Solace Fund will help add simple touches to make patient visits to the Cancer Center clinic as pleasant and personalized as possible.  Money will be used to provide beverages, newspapers, magazines and assistance with such things as finding the perfect wig or scarf.

“I wanted to do something to help patients get their minds off the stress that accompanies a cancer diagnosis so they can concentrate on getting better,” Thomas said.  “My mom always helped folks, and I want to maintain her legacy of generosity and compassion for others. In her last days, she was more concerned with comforting the people around her than her own suffering.”

The Fairmont resident also lost his father to cancer.  Jacob “Butch” Thomas died of melanoma when Thomas was just a toddler.

 “The death of my mom and dad were heartbreaking and painful events for my family,” Thomas said. “Thankfully, I had the love and support of friends and family to help me.  Many people do not.”

 Jason Thomas of the WVU Political Science Department will participate in several races this summer to raise money for a fund he established at WVU’s Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center.

Thomas began to run as a way to deal with his mother’s death.  Last year at age 33, he completed his first marathon. He has lost nearly 70 pounds since then. In 2010, Thomas is planning to complete an Ironman Triathlon.

 “I always say I’m running away from a fat man,” Thomas said.  “Plus, exercise is a good way to help keep the threat of cancer at bay.”

Thomas’ goal is to raise $25,000 for the Solace Fund by the time he participates in the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., in October.  That is the amount needed to endow the fund so that it will be an ongoing source of revenue.

In addition to friends, family and colleagues, Thomas urges businesses to pitch in.

“By making a donation, you will be supporting me in completing the marathon, but, more important, you will be funding the provision of local services to people afflicted with cancer,” he said. “The money I’m raising will stay in our community to help West Virginians.”

All donations to the new fund are tax deductable. 

For information about Thomas and how you can donate to the Carolyn E. Miller Steps for Solace Fund visit the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center website at www.wvucancer.org or call (304) 293-4597.  To track Thomas’ race schedule and performance go to his blog at www.recastiniron.blogspot.com.

- WVU -

For more information:
Sherry Stoneking, MBRCC, (304) 293-4599
sls: 0-4-24-08

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