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Mendota youth sets off afoot for a good cause

Posted: Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Jack Massey of Mendota donates over $2,100 to the Kick Cancer Krewe and the American Cancer Society. He tuned over his donation, April 22, to Kick Cancer Krewe members, pictured left to right, Meredith McConville, Emily McConville, Lisa Avery, Jan Phalen and Linda Hessenberger. Massey raised the money from pledges received for running during the month of February. He accumulated 70 miles in a 20-day period. (Photo contributed)

MENDOTA – Mendotan and Northbrook Middle School 6th grader, Jack Massey, set out this past February to do something good. He added up 70 miles of running around town, the lake, the cemetery, and the track, all for a good cause.

Massey’s cause: the American Cancer Society.

Massey asked friends, family, teachers, and his mother’s co-workers for pledges prior to running. His goal was to complete 50 miles of outdoor running throughout the month of February. With 75 sponsors pledging his endeavor, Massey set out running.

“I wanted to help people that have cancer so that they could get better and maybe could start running, too,” said Massey.

So, during National Cancer Prevention month, Massey set out on three, five, or eight-mile treks. He ran whenever he could: before school, after school, and on the weekends.

“We love to run as a family,” said his mother and running partner, Mindy Massey. With a running background, Jack was confident in his capabilities to complete his task. It was tiring at times, but he said he never thought about giving up. Massey and his mother, who admittedly ran slower, said, “We tried to do the last mile together, so that was always really nice.”

Massey’s maternal grandfather died from cancer prior to his 70th birthday. When Massey surpassed his original 50-mile mark, it seemed fitting to move the new goal to 70 miles. Within 20 days, his goal was reached.

Jack’s mother said he would have run even farther if it were not for getting the flu in the middle of the month.

Massey recalled one of his favorite runs was on Sunday, Feb. 24. It was sunny and snowy and he had his longest run of eight miles. Just five days earlier, he ran in zero degree weather with 40 mile per hour winds!

“I was proud of him. It was a lot of time. There were a lot of days that it was really nasty out—30 mile per hour winds, 20 below zero. It would be really cold; your eyes would water. I was proud of the physical accomplishment and the fortitude to do it. And setting a good example in the community, I think is always important—to think of others,” said Jack’s mother.

In the end, Jack raised over $2,100 that he donated to the Kick Cancer Krewe and the American Cancer Society on April 22.

This does not end Jack’s desire to do something good. Next year he has already thought about upping the ante with a goal of running 100 miles.

“People overthink it. I think they have a tendency to think that they have to do something huge when really you can do a bunch of small things to improve your community and help other people,” said Mindy.

This summer, Massey plans to attend sport camps and hang out with friends. And perhaps he will start training for his next race.

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