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Team Run Like You Stole It was first created in the 2014 Bridge2Bridge 5K/10K race as a way for family and friends to honor the life of Justin Walters. Justin was diagnosed with Adrenal Cortical Carcinoma in April 2013. Adrenal Cortical Carcinoma (ACC) is a rare disease and is caused by a cancerous growth in the adrenal cortex. The adrenal cortex is the outer layer of the adrenal glands, which lie on top of the kidneys. They play an important role in the endocrine system, which is the system that produces and regulates hormones.
After Justin was diagnosed with ACC and began chemotherapy sessions, we (Justin and myself; his girlfriend/fiance at the time) were made aware of the Danville Cancer Association. Up until that point, neither of us knew much about DCA and what they did for our community. Justin was a pilot and therefor was not able to work after he had surgery to remove the tumor and begin chemotherapy. DCA offered great assistance to Justin during this time of need when his income was not enough to cover cancer related expenses that were necessary for his health. They assisted with expensive medications that were not covered under insurance and with travel to Michigan, where he visited during a round of a clinical trial.
Justin passed away on December 29, 2013 at the age of 31 surrounded by his family. During his time fighting cancer he NEVER gave up on living his life to the fullest. He continued to be an amazing friend, a great dad, an awesome boyfriend/fiance, a caring brother and a loving son. He wore a bright smile that everyone remembers and loves every single day, even if he was sitting in a chair receiving chemotherapy.
After he passed away, a friend brought to my (his girlfriend/fiance) attention the Bridge2Bridge race held here in Danville to raise money for the Danville Cancer Association. I could not pass up the opportunity to arrange a team to honor Justin's life and to give back to a local organization that gave so much to Justin and gives just as much to others. The part that I love most about the DCA is that any money that they receive, stays local. Being able to give to an organization that helps those in our community is a great feeling. Knowing that our team is doing something to help give someone else going through this horrible disease some peace of mind is just what Justin would want us to be doing.
Justin loved hunting so much that our team wears a blaze orange t-shirt with a logo of ducks and deer on the front along with an airplane in the air, since he was a pilot and loved to fly. Our team is now on our third year of running, walking, and cheering together. If you stand among our blaze orange team on race day, you will see us laughing and smiling together just as Justin would have wanted. We also make it a point to gather up and say a prayer before leaving for the starting line to thank God for the blessings we have been given to have known Justin. We as a team, feel blessed to have had him in our lives and for our opportunity to give back to an organization that gives so much back to others in need. I am looking forward to another great group to Run Like You Stole It!