Running for cancer research

It’s not unusual for college students to feel like they are running in circles — but on Thursday, Oct. 6, they really will be.

Students, faculty and staff will run on Hearn Plaza from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. to raise money for cancer research. “Hit the Bricks” is part of a series of student-run events and activities to honor the former Chicago Bears running back, Brian Piccolo, who attended Wake Forest in the 1960s. The 1971 film, “Brian’s Song,” was based on the real-life relationship between teammates Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers and the bond established when Piccolo discovers he is dying of cancer at the age of 26.

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Teams will begin running laps around the brick-covered sidewalk of Hearn Plaza throughout the day. Students carrying backpacks weighted with 10 pounds of sand earn double credit (two laps for every one they run). The event ends with a silent lap and a luminary ceremony to commemorate cancer victims and survivors.

Last year, 650 participants ran a total of 20,008 laps and raised $20,000. Seniors Roman Nelson and Derrica Barbee and junior Aline Souza, “Hit the Bricks” co-chairs, hope to top those numbers. “We are all fighting together, and we need to get everyone involved,” Barbee said. “But the event is as much about raising awareness as it is about raising funds.”

Senior Carolyn Castle, who participated in “Hit the Bricks” for the past three years, says she thinks people really enjoy having something in common. “The Brian Piccolo Cancer Fund is close to Wake Forest’s heart. People love supporting it, and a little healthy competition doesn’t hurt.”

“Hit the Bricks” supports the Comprehensive Cancer Center of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

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