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November 30, 2012

FIJIs Run To VT For Cancer Research

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Staff writer Doug Bowman is a member of Phi Gamma Delta's Virginia Tech chapter and participated in the run. HokieHaven.com was a proud sponsor of the run, which raised money for cancer research. This is his account of the event.

Kickoff for the 2012 edition of the Battle for the Commonwealth Cup was set for noon on Nov. 24. At 4:30 a.m. that morning, I got off a charter bus and began a slow jog with the game ball down route 29 on the way to Blacksburg. The air temperature was about 35 degrees before the wind kicked up and the only other thing out and about was the bus following closely behind.

However, the cause for which my fraternity brothers and I were running was a good one. It was the 10th annual FIJI Run Across VA, put on by the brothers of the Phi Gamma Delta chapters at Virginia Tech and UVA, benefiting the Jimmy V Foundation.

I would say it was a smashing success $52,401.64 later. For the 10th year of event, our goal was to eclipse the $50,000 mark. Next year, the goal will be even higher as we continue to push this philanthropy further and further.

Each year, the chapters team up to put on this event, which consists of physically running the game ball from one campus to the other depending on where the game is being played at that year.

The University of Virginia chapter started their portion of the run around mid-day on Black Friday. Running from Charlottesville to Lynchburg, we met them in the dark and cold E.C. Glass High School parking lot just after midnight. After a few pictures and introductions, we began our half of the run.

Some brothers run for nearly an hour, while others (including yours truly) run for about ten minutes or however long an out-of-shape body can last. With the charter bus following behind at about five miles per hour and a police escort protecting us, the process is excruciatingly slow.

However, we made it. At about 9 a.m. on the morning of the Virginia Tech/Virginia game, we departed the bus and finished our run as a group, jogging through downtown Blacksburg and concluding another edition of the run. A few passersby honked, a few waved, and a few more stared with confused expressions on their faces. Shortly before game time, we presented the check to representatives from the V Foundation on the field.

The success of the run isn't determined by how fast we run but rather by the amount of money we raise. Cancer is a dreadful disease that affects just about everyone. Eventually, a cure will be found and we would like to think the hundreds of thousands of dollars we have poured into the research helped.

Nearly twenty years ago, Jim Valvano stood on the stage at the ESPY awards and brought funding for cancer research to the forefront. For the brothers of FIJI at Virginia Tech and UVA, it has become the defining event for our chapters.



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