Boy's cancer fight inspires half-marathon competitor - WSMV Channel 4

Boy's cancer fight inspires half-marathon competitor

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Many runners in the St. Jude Country Music Marathon will compete for a cause close to their hearts, including one man who drew his inspiration from a special boy who got his whole hometown's attention.

Mitchell Alexander plans to walk most of the 13.1 mile half-marathon course, but with each step he takes, he will raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to help treat and cure childhood cancers.

Alexander will participate in memory of Aaron Bell, a Savannah, TN, teen who would have celebrated his 17th birthday last month but died from cancer in February.

The entire town of Savannah stood behind Aaron through his six-year fight with anaplastic ependymoma.

"There were signs all over town, people wearing T-shirts. It moved me, and I decided I needed to do something," Alexander said.

Alexander grew up in Savannah, too, and is close with Aaron's family.

"The whole town rallied around him with such support that I've never seen from my hometown before," Alexander said.

Alexander decided to help, too, so he sold cupcakes at work, started training for the Country Music Half Marathon and collected pledges to raise as much as he could for St. Jude and patients like Aaron.

He wanted to thank the hospital for caring for Aaron for so many years.

"When you look at the things they've done and the life they allowed Aaron to have, I think it speaks volumes," Alexander said.

Alexander set out to raise $2,500 in Aaron's memory and has already surpassed that but still hopes to raise even more.

If you would like to contribute, visit: http://fundraising.stjude.org/site/TR/Heroes/Heroes?px=2205689&pg=personal&fr_id=3861.

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