St. Jude Runners depart from Memphis

By WEEK Producer

July 31, 2013 Updated Jul 31, 2013 at 9:50 PM CDT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- After leaving Peoria in the rain on Tuesday, the St. Jude runners are heading back in much sunnier weather.

News 25’s Lee Hall is participating in the run for the 31st time.

He said the sun, the heat and the humidity all came right on cue as the rain clouds dissipated Wednesday morning in Memphis for the send off in the 32nd annual Memphis to Peoria Run.

Before leaving, the runners got a special behind the scenes look at the research facilities here at St. Jude.

“We got to see stuff that you would normally never get to see,” said runner and parent Vic Reed. “Obviously they are doing great work and hopefully they will have more cures. They've done well so far, because the cure rates are going up so high.”

Dr. Beth Stewart is originally from Dunlap. She splits her time between working with patients at clinic and working with their cells in the lab.

“I know it can be really difficult for me to face the patients in clinics that had tumor types that are really high risk and really aggressive. So, I wanted to be a part of that movement that would make me involved in the research. Where I could go directly back to those parents and patients and say ‘I'm working on this in the lab, I know what is going on’,” said Dr. Stewart.

Beth and her fellow researchers are the unsung heroes at St. Jude and it just so happens that Beth is also a Memphis to Peoria Runner.

“Just hearing the passion and seeing first hand what it is doing and knowing somebody who is working on it really helps on those hot days when you feel like you can't go any further and knowing what is going on back here and knowing that there is somebody doing this with us, it brings it all back and makes it worth it,” said St. Jude runner Kathleen Steiner.

So for the 32nd straight year the St. Jude runners are off and running toward Peoria and will make their grand appearance into the Civic Center at the start of the 36th Annual St. Jude Telethon.

You can catch all the coverage live from 6:30 p.m. to midnight Saturday August 3 on WEEK.

Lee have more reports all this week.