FORT MILL — The wife of a local avid runner is continuing her late husband’s fight with a 5K Saturday to benefit Oral Cancer Foundation.
Shelley Blevins husband, Jeremy, a compliance manager at Wells Fargo, died Aug. 3 at age 42 from an aggressive form of cancer in his mouth and neck after being diagnosed seven months earlier.
Blevins said her husband read an article about people who run every day of their lives. He began on New Year’s Day 2006 with the intent to run every day for 50 years. He was forced to end his running streak at seven years, 13 days. She continues her husband’s running streak, even completing a marathon in December.
“I want to make the community aware of this awful disease, and I believe that spreading the word about early detection can save lives,” said Blevins, whose son Bise, 9, and daughter, Lettie, 7, will participate in the run.
The run begins at Springmaid Park at Baxter Village in Fort Mill. There will be free oral cancer screenings at the park.
Becky Hill, who worked for Jeremy, plans to participate in the 5K. She raised $960 as of Jan. 21 surpassing her $500 goal.
“It will be emotional to be there,” Hill said. “I want to help make it as big as we can – for them, for her.”
Hill describes him as “funny and goofy and a germaphobe, and I really miss him.”
Online, friends have rallied on the Facebook page “Running for a Cause … Cause Jerm Can’t Run,” with 449 friends who run in memory of Jeremy. Since launching a year ago, the group has posted 35,000 miles.
“The posts on that page meant so much to Jeremy, they mean so much to me, and I think everyone feels the same way,” Blevins said. “It’s so motivating, it’s a sense of belonging and it inspires me every day to keep running. And that’s my therapy.”
As of Jan. 22, 329 runners had signed up raising $17,365 so far, exceeding the $15,000 goal. The runner who raises the most money, more than $2,000, will get an iPad3.
“The support of this 5K is overwhelming,” Blevins said. “It just proves what a great community we live in.”