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Monday, Nov 12 2012 03:29 PM

Run, Kelcey, Run

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Kelcey Harrison arrives at the Fairfield Inn on Tehachapi Blvd on Sunday. Harrison is nearing the end of her 3,500 mile journey that began from New York's Times Square on July 30, and will end in San Francisco on Dec. 1. Photo by Ed Gordon.

Kelcey Harrison, 24, ready to relax at the Fairfield Inn. The 24-year old former paralegal has been averaging around 30 to 40 miles per day on her run that to date has raised over $127,000 for Lung Cancer Research through Jill’s Legacy and the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation. Photo by Ed Gordon.

Kelcey Harrison ran into Tehachapi on Sunday afternoon for a well-deserved rest.

The 24-year-old Harrison is on a four-month, 3,500-mile run from New York to San Francisco to raise awareness and funds to fight lung cancer.

And while Harrison's run will help all lung cancer patients, her main motivation came after losing her best friend and fellow University of California, Berkeley graduate Jill Costello, who succumbed to lung cancer in June 2010, just one year after being diagnosed.

A PAC-10 Woman's Athlete of the Year, Costello graduated at the top of her class, and led Cal to a second-place finish at the NCAA Division I Women's Rowing Championships just a month prior her death.

Costello was just 22 when she passed away and was a non-smoker.

"Lung cancer has an overshadowing stigma that only smokers can get it," said Harrison. "Because of that stigma, the survival rate has not changed in 40 years."

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over 20 percent of women who are diagnosed with lung cancer have never touched a cigarette.

"For people like Jill, that stigma makes a lung cancer diagnosis a death sentence," Harrison said.

So armed with just a pair of good running shoes, Harrison is determined to shatter that stigma, and averaging around 30 to 40 miles per day, to date has raised over $127,000 for Lung Cancer Research through Jill's Legacy and the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation.

"Jill always said she would beat lung cancer, not her lung cancer, lung cancer in general," Harrison said. "And Jill is beating lung cancer. I mean, look at me, I'm running across the country because of Jill."

Harrison left New York's Time Square on July 30, taking the southern route to avoid the Rockies, traveling west through Bakersfield before heading north to San Francisco where she pans to arrive on Dec. 1.

Her trip, known as The Great Lung Run, can be followed on Twitter, Facebook, the BJALCF and Jill's Legacy websites.

 

Tehachapi News staff writer Matthew Martz contributed to this story.

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