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Changing the Game

By Julie Irwin Zimmerman

Amy Gore admits she’s not crazy about running. But there she was in Disney World last January, running a marathon with a group of about 20 Xavier students. The reason? Distance4Dreams, which raises money through running for seriously ill children. Gore, who earned her bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy in 2009 and master’s degree a year later, started the Xavier chapter of D4D with a few friends last year.

Gore learned about Distance4Dreams from Katie Przybysz, a friend at the University of Dayton who started the charity. She worked as an intern at A Special Wish Foundation. Some of Przybysz’s friends were running a Disney Marathon and looking for a charity to support. That gave birth to Distance4Dreams.

At Xavier, the group solicited pledges for every mile they ran. “It was like we were working for the money instead of just asking for it, which made our training more meaningful,” says Gore. The Xavier chapter headed to Florida in January and raised about $4,000 for a girl named Jackie with a rare type of kidney cancer. Jackie and her family went to Disney World this summer after she finished chemotherapy. Gore isn’t sure whether she’ll run another marathon, but the club will remain her legacy. So will getting Jackie and her family to Disney World.

“I always said I’d never run a full marathon because I didn’t think it was good for the body,” she says. “But of all the reasons to do it, those were the things that really pushed me to the finish line.”

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