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Middle School Forms ‘Team In Training’ To Tackle Half Marathon, Leukemia

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WESTMINSTER (CBS4) – A middle school is banding together to fight leukemia after losing a teacher and a student in the past year. The middle school community has transformed into a “Team In Training.”

“The greatest kids of the world walk through this door every single day. John thoroughly believed this and he had this outside of his door,” said Betsy Ressler, a teacher at Woodrow Wilson Academy.

John Wright was a middle school science teacher at Woodrow Wilson Academy in Westminster. In July of 2010 he was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. After a 10-month battle, Wright passed away in May.

Student Jonathan Harrison, 13, had the nickname “Mr. Brave.”  He was also diagnosed with leukemia. Harrison passed away Sept. 5.

“He was diagnosed at the age of five. They battled through for over eight years with this disease — in and out of remission.  Emotionally and financially it takes a huge toll on the family,” parent Veronica Brunk said.

After offering their prayers and homemade casseroles, Kim Mattei along with several other parents and teachers felt like they wanted to do more for the families. So they signed up with “Team In Training,” the charity training team of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Their goal is to complete a half marathon in Sports Authority Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver Marathon & ½ Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 9.

“We don’t know what else to do except raise money. And if the way we can do that is to go run, then that’s what we’ll do,” Mattei said.

The team will run 13.1 miles in honor of Wright, Harrison, and Andrew Kent, another student at Woodrow Wilson also diagnosed with leukemia.

“I think about their families all the time. For Andrew, i just want him to be okay. I just want him to say, I’m okay, I’m done, I’m cured,” parent Erin Johnson said.

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon course loops around central Denver. There is still time to sign up. Register at the website linked below.

LINK: Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon

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