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The University of Texas at Tyler
UT Tyler Archivist to Participate in Marathon for Good Cause
During the last several months, Deirdre Joyce, university archivist and special collections librarian at The University of Texas at Tyler’s Robert Muntz Library, has prepared herself not for the mobs of shoppers in stores but for a marathon.
“I’ve always been somewhat athletic, though not an athlete per se,” said Joyce. “I enjoy fitness for the healthy feeling I get and certainly I’ve been competitive, though most of my competitive pursuits have been more academically oriented. I am, at heart, a big nerd in running shoes.”
Her desire is not concentrated on herself, however, but her 10-year-old nephew Sean, who lost his battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in March.
Joyce will participate in the AT&T Austin Marathon Sunday, Feb. 17, 2008 to raise money to find a cure for cancer. And she said she’s found the strength and courage to run because of Sean and other young children who have battled and continue to battle cancer.
“I had planned only to run a half-marathon, but I got caught up in the excitement and next thing I knew, found myself signing up for the full marathon, which is 26.2 miles,” Joyce said. “I was really motivated by my nephew and some of the other children through the Web site (http://www.caringbridge.org).”
Both her training and fundraising were made possible by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team-in-Training, which calls itself the world’s largest endurance sports training program.
Sean was diagnosed with leukemia just 10 days after Joyce started serving at the university, on Sept. 21, 2006.
Since her training began, Joyce has started a blog to detail her progress, http://hundredmileclubredux.blogspot.com, for “a boy who loved running,” she said.
“He liked running, playing soccer and hanging out with his friends and cousins. Sean was a really special kid with a big heart and a brave outlook,” Joyce added. “I suspect that if it weren’t for all the donations and support that I’ve received I’d have given up on this awhile ago. Marathon training requires discipline and is more time consuming than I had ever realized. With that said I’ve really enjoyed the process, except for a bad cold midway through. I ran my first 5k on Thanksgiving, and it really gave me a taste for the race day atmosphere.”
Ultimately, she is driven to help find a cure for cancer.
“Sean and others continue to inspire me. That’s why I keep going. I think that a cure for cancer gets closer every day, and it’s important that we all participate in it,” she said. “Once upon a time, the March of Dimes contributed to a cure for polio, and that disease is no longer the threat it once was. I really do think that we can do the same thing for cancer.”
For more information about her efforts, contact Joyce, 903.565.5849 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.active.com/donate/tntntx/tntntxDJoyce.
One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 70 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of more than 6,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.