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Druley: St. Charles woman runs with a purpose

Doctors diagnosed St. Charles resident Stacey Elders with Type 1 diabetes about seven years ago, just a week and a half before her 30th birthday.

Knowing it would help her manage diabetes and boost her bid to still eat junk food once in a while, Elders took up running shortly thereafter.

Elders covers five to 10 miles on most mornings to stay upbeat and active, but until Sunday had not experienced the other runner’s high of competing for someone else. Her efforts entering her first Chicago Half Marathon raised $6,000 for Cancer Kiss My Cooley, a nonprofit organization geared toward raising community awareness for pediatric brain tumors.

“It’s great to see them turn something so unbelievably sad and tragic into something so positive and tremendous benefiting these children,” Elders said. “It gave me something to run for instead of just myself.”

Elders linked up with Huntley-based Cancer Kiss My Cooley – “cooley” or “coolie” is Italian slang for one’s backside – through her husband’s ties.

Jason Elders has known Joe and Cinnamon Kettner since high school. In May 2010, the couple’s 6-year-old son, Carter, died from inoperable brain cancer, 15 months after his diagnosis. Carter Kettner frequently sang “Cancer, kiss my cooley,” when receiving treatment.

The foundation includes the Kiss of HOPE program, which works to give families living with pediatric brain cancer gifts, wishes or other support to the child. Stacey Elders, who raised most of her funds through donations from longtime insurance clients, estimates her contribution will help provide two such “Kisses.”

Seems like a fair trade to her after traversing the Lake Shore Drive course in one hour, 59 minutes.

“That’s a long way to run,” Elders said, “and it was a really big accomplishment for me to manage it and to finish it. But that said, this particular run was for Carter and for CKMC and the kids who are not going to make it to where I’m at. My stuff is totally treatable.”

Elders, who has four children, figures this is just the beginning of her running-for-a-cause circuit. She was happy to spread CKMC’s message in her first endeavor.

“Kind of off your radar. Cancer awareness is everywhere, but I guess what the general public thinks is smoking and lung cancer in adults,” She said. “What you don’t know is how young these kids can be diagnosed and what they go through. There’s just not a lot of spotlight on that research. It’s really wonderful what they’re doing.”

Far and Spear: Team World Vision also was represented at the Chicago Half Marathon, but one of its most well-traveled members took a much-deserved breather.

St. Charles resident Steve Spear on Friday reached New York City about five months after leaving Los Angeles on a cross-country run for his Running For Water initiative. Spear, as part of Team World Vision, aims to raise $1.5 million to provide a clean water and sanitation system for a Kenyan village of $30,000.

Speaking on a YouTube video filmed on the New York side of the George Washington Bridge, Spear relayed that while the running portion is over, the fundraising goal is ongoing.

In July, Spear’s daughter, Chelsea, said her father had raised $129,000.

Senior moments: Pottawatomie Golf Course in St. Charles hosted its annual age 50-plus tournament Saturday and Sunday, crowning winners in eight age divisions.

Players ages 50 to 69 played 18 holes each on the two days, while those 70 and older played nine holes on both days.

Here’s a look at the champions:

• 50-54: David Newland, 144

• 55-59: Ken Harris, 165

• 60-64: Chris Hansen, 161

• 65-69: Rick Carlson, 152

• 70-74: Dave Davis, 83

• 75-79: Jim Sons, 89

• 80-84: Jim Breslin, 97

• 85-89: Miles Burns and Chester Cichon, 117

• Kevin Druley is a sportswriter for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or Follow him on Twitter at @kevindruley.

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