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3,000 Miles for Cancer

GARDNERVILLE, Nev. - It's been a long couple of weeks for Landon Cooper, founder of Miles 2 Give. The seasoned runner is making his way across country in the name of cancer research.

He started the run on Valentine's Day, and averages about 21 miles per day. But don't be quick to call it his run.

"I don't want to be dubbed anything, because it's not about me. It's about us. It's our journey," Cooper said.

The journey began back in 2009. In November of that year, Cooper's friend, Ashley Davis, was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma Cancer.

"That resonated with me and told me something had to be done," he said.

Davis passed in April 2011. In her memory, and in the memory of the thousands of people battling all forms of Sarcoma, Cooper ran.

The 3,000 miles trip began in San Francisco and will end in Ocean City, Maryland in July.

Though he's tired, Cooper says he won't stop running.

"When it comes to overcoming adversity, when it comes to overcoming cancer, there's not a clock in or a clock out to that," he said. "So days when I feel like lead, and want to just be horizontal; It's a very pale comparison, but the reason we tailored the run the way we did was to give people hope and inspiration."

But he's also inspired himself. The inside of Cooper's RV is filled with signatures and sayings written by people he has met along the way. On the ceiling, Sarcoma survivors write their names. Cooper says that's because the ceiling is the closest thing to heaven they have.

"We'll be raising money, but also leaving inspiration behind," he said.

Though only crossing into Nevada on Saturday, Cooper has already inspired a local family.

It's been nearly five years since Wesley Piper and his family were given the news that 17 year old Bailey Piper has Sarcoma. The cancer was in her knee, forcing the normally active young girl into a wheelchair.

"Of course it was devastating for her- she was 17, a senior in high school," Wesley Piper said. "But you know she looked at me and said, I know we're going to get through this."

And she did get through it. Though through her chemo treatment Bailey had ups and downs, a year after she was diagnosed, she ran a bell in the hospital signaling the end of her treatment. Now cancer free, she is studying graphic design in Texas.

Piper ran into Cooper by accident. Piper and his wife were out hiking, when they saw the RV. He did some quick internet searching, and found Cooper was running for the very disease that shook his family.

The Piper family organizes blood drives in honor of Bailey, but seeing Cooper run for people like his daughter, Piper says it inspires him to do more.

"It's almost as overwhelming as when I found out my daughter had cancer."

To donate to the cause or learn more about Cooper's journey, visit www.miles2give.org.


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