On November 19, 2017 my father Terry Jones and I hope to complete our 9 year quest to finish a marathon (26.2 miles or longer) in all 50 states. Of the approximately 500,000 individuals who finish a marathon each year, only 100 will be accomplishing this same feat.
(Left: State #1: Honolulu Marathon (My first marathon!) Left to Right: Ashley (my sister), Terry (dad), Emily (me))
(Right: State #49: Utah Valley Marathon: 9 years later- and that finish line will never get any less meaningful.)
We have decided to dedicate the completion of our journey to those we have lost along the way, those who have lost their battle with cancer and who can no longer pursue their own quests. Throughout our travels we have met inspiring survivors, determined fighters, and grieving family members running in honor of loved ones- as we will be in the memory of Debbie Jones-Morzuch my father's sister, and Dr. William Halford, my microbiology professor and small group leader at SIU School of Medicine.
(Aunt Debbie and the Jones boys: From left to right: Terry (my dad), Jim, Debbie, Gary. All serious as always. )
(Read more about my incredible teacher Dr. Halford here: https://liveherpesvaccine.com/).
Most recently, We are also honored to be raising money in partnership with Sacred Heart Griffin High School in honor of Mr Simon Cory, and Sister Peggy. These individuals were two essential pieces of the SHG heart, who have been lost in the last couple years to cancer. If you knew either of them, you understand the emptiness left by their deaths. I was fortunate enough to be a student at SHG while Mr. Cory was Dean of Students, and transitioning to a role in Campus Ministry.
We got to work closely together during my four years through OPTeen, Kairos, Quest, and multiple service trips on the JOSHUA project. Sister Peggy was my theology teacher freshman year, but also became a close family friend. She attended JOSHUA with both my sisters and I, and became both my mom's great friend, and like an Aunt to my family.
We hope to honor the legacy of strength, bravery, and faith both Sister Peggy and Mr. Cory left all SHG alumni to protect. We hope our contributions to cancer research help others like Mr. Cory, Sister Peggy, our parents, our siblings, and our friends to fight and to win their own marathon battles with this relentless disease.
In that spirit, we are attempting to raise funds for the Simmons Cancer Institute; the center affiliated with Southern Illinois University School of Medicine here in Springfield, IL where I am currently a second year medical student, and my father earned his M.D. in 1981. Simmons is the regional Cancer Research and Treatment Center for Central Illinois. Like much else in Illinois, it has suffered severe cutbacks in funding over the last several years, compromising its mission and even its residency positions for those pursuing a career in Hematology and Oncology. 100% of the funds raised will go towards the Simmons Cancer Institute. Travel and race expenses have been personally covered.
(Left: Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU: Springfield, IL)
(Right: White coat ceremony. My induction in the incredibly community of SIU School of Medicine, another marathon journey- but with my father by my side as always).
With any contribution, you assist in the advancement of cancer treatment research at Simmons, while raising awareness to the great contributions SIU School of Medicine makes to Central and Southern Illinois. We hope you will help us finish our 9 year journey in a meaningful way, and appreciate your support throughout our marathon quest- a pursuit that means the world to both of us. Please join us in our effort to honor the many individuals who have made a lasting impression in our hearts by their lives, loss and bravery.
Emily Jones, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Class of 2020
Terry Jones, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Class of 1981