Billings woman organizes fun run for young cancer patients

Kids

Loneman Photography/Doug Loneman

Current and former pediatric patients are, from left, Walker, Lucy, Morgan, Caden and Signe. Pictured in the frame is Allistaire. Caden and Allistaire are two of the original three of The Bozeman 3.

A big-hearted Billings woman attending school in Bozeman is organizing a Super Bowl Sunday fun run to raise money for a group that provides support for families with children diagnosed with cancer.

Megan Maynard, a 2014 graduate of Billings Senior High now majoring in exercise science with a pre-med focus at Montana State University, said she was inspired to organize the benefit by a friend of hers who is a pediatric cancer survivor.

Maynard said she has grown increasingly close to that friend, and the more she learned about the physical, mental and financial challenges her friend faced, the more she wanted to do something to help pediatric cancer patients and their families.

Megan Maynard

Megan Maynard

So she teamed up with The Bozeman 3, a nonprofit organization that supports young cancer patients and their families in the Gallatin Valley. Maynard also enlisted the support of the Pre-Dental Club at MSU, of which she is president.

Although MSU does not have a pre-dental program, as such, Maynard said, she and others founded the group so that students hoping to go into a pre-dental program after graduating from MSU could volunteer to work with local dental offices when they offer free dental care to the needy, and on similar events.

The fun run to benefit The Bozeman 3 fulfills a similar mission, she said.

“As future healthcare professionals, we should care about every health need in our community, not just the ones specific to our field,” she said.

The 5K race will take place on Super Bowl Sunday, starting at 10 a.m. in front of the Rocking R Bar at 211 E. Main St. in downtown Bozeman.

You can sign up by going to the Super Bowl Fun Run Facebook page or the website of The Bozeman 3. You can also register in person on the morning of run, until 9:50 a.m. The registration is $5 for kids 12 and under, $35 for everyone else.

“Every single cent goes straight to Bozeman 3,” Maynard said. “I’ve had so many donations that I haven’t had to spend a dime.”

Her main sponsor has been the Rocking R, which is making $1,500 worth of donations for free beer and chili after the event, besides being the host location. Other sponsors include the Bozeman Running Company, MSU, Sweet Peaks, Crowley Fleck law firm and Montana Title and Escrow.

There will be prize drawings, and a grand prize will go to the best-dressed runner or walker decked out in his or her favorite NFL team gear.

Maynard said she decided on a Super Bowl fun run because “I just like to be active myself, and I thought this was something the whole community could do.” And the idea of getting some exercise on Super Bowl Sunday seemed like a good idea because “we all eat way too much food that day,” she said.

Molly Mason, president of The Bozeman 3, expressed the group’s gratitude to Maynard for organizing and serving as the volunteer director of the fun run.

“This race will be a lot of fun for runners and walkers alike,” she added, “and we are looking forward to having it serve as a platform for introducing The Bozeman 3 to a larger segment of the community, further supporting these families.”

The Bozeman 3 arose out of a unique bond between three Gallatin Valley families, who met in the hallways of Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Oncology Unit in 2012, where they were all fighting for the lives of their children and far from home.

From the start, the group’s mission has been threefold: to provide financial support for Gallatin Valley families with children diagnosed with cancer; to provide peer support by connecting local families whose children have or have had cancer; and to support pediatric cancer research.

Maynard, who is also secretary of the Health Pre-Professional Honor Society at MSU and vice president of operations for Be the Match, a campus group that recruits bone marrow donors, said she was overwhelmed by the support local businesses have shown for the fun run.

“I haven’t gotten turned down one time,” she said. “They just hand me money and prizes.”

To learn more about The Bozeman 3 or to make a donation directly to the group, visit its website.

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