Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Georgia Tech Students Running to Make a Difference

Todd Schmidt and Justin Levine may seem like your typical college students. Todd, a senior and Justin, a junior at Georgia Tech, enjoy sports, traveling and hanging out with their friends.

Oh, and they are also helping cure cancer.

Todd, Justin and about forty of their college friends have signed up for Team In Training (TNT) ; a program benefiting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. As part of TNT, the participants are trained by expert coaches and staff to complete the Charles Harris 10K Run for Leukemia in February or the ING Georgia Marathon in March. In return, the team hopes to raise $20,000 to fight blood cancer.

“I do it because I think it’s a good way for students to give back,” says Todd. “I had a friend who was diagnosed with leukemia while we were in high school and it really hits home. Blood cancer can really hit people our age so it’s easy to raise money for something that affects so many people.”

And this isn’t the first time Todd has taken part in Team In Training. Taking the lead from his parents who have done the program many times, Todd first signed up three years ago. He gathered a few of his friends to also join him that year and eight of them finished their event. Last year, when Justin signed on to help lead the team, the event—and their impact--- grew. In the first two years combined they have raised $19,000 for the cause.

This year, with even more people on board, they are determined to reach that $20,000 mark. “I’ve kind of become addicted to it,” says Todd. “It’s easy to do because it’s just such a great opportunity to make a difference.”

“It's especially important to me that we recruit more participants each year, and ultimately raise more money,” Justin says. “Team In Training can never be just about me or Todd, the goal is to make TNT a fixture among Tech students for years long after we're gone. I think students are always looking for some sort of challenge but won't actively pursue something like Team In Training. Hopefully what we've done is opened the door for Team In Training at Tech and provided that opportunity. Next year should be even bigger.”

If you'd like to support Justin, Todd and the other Georgia Tech students in their pursuit of raising funds for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, please go to http://pages.teamintraining.org/ga/Georgia10/GeorgiaTech

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