Sunday, October 15, 2000

Man's marathon mission helps sick children

By Lew Moores
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        DELHI TOWNSHIP — Brian Kinne has never run in a marathon before; indeed, he's never been a competitive runner, although he'll tell you that he's in pretty decent shape, is 25 years old and regularly rides his bicycle back and forth to work.

        He's never been into fund-raising either, although he has raised $4,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which is sponsoring his entry in the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 22. The $4,000 is twice the amount he was expected to raise for the society.

        Mr. Kinne will be one of 47 runners from the Greater Cincinnati area in Chicago participating in Team in Training, a program of the society that gets runners to run marathons as a fund-raising effort for the society.

        So far those runners have raised $85,000 for the society, said Gina Bucher, campaign coordinator for the society. It is money that goes into research, education and patient services.

        Mr. Kinne is running in honor of Joey Holthaus, 9, who lives in Price Hill and is a fourth-grader at Covedale Elementary School. Joey was diagnosed with leukemia in September 1996. Today, his disease is in remission.

        “He's doing great,” said his mother, Joanne Holt- haus. “He went through a year of intense treatment, followed by a 28-month maintenance treatment that he just finished last November. He's now off all drugs.”

        Mr. Kinne was inspired to take on a marathon when he watched his sister run in the Flying Pig Marathon in May. She ran on behalf of Team in Training.

        “I kind of got the marathon bug,” said Mr. Kinne.

        He was hooked up with Joey, and began his training last spring. He's training four days a week, putting in between 30 and 40 miles each week. Recently, he went out and ran 20 miles.

        “It's a big deal,” said Mr. Kinne. “It's intimidating. Yes, I have some anxiety and some fears. This is something completely new.”

        But what lies ahead — 26 miles, 385 yards of Chicago roadway — is made less daunting by his spending some time with Joey and with the response he got from the 200 letters he had sent out seeking donations.

        “He's a real good kid,” said Mr. Kinne of Joey, whom he's met four or five times. “He's the goalie on his soccer team. He's a smart kid. He's reading the Harry Potter series. He's a real inspiration.”

        Joey says he doesn't know whether he'll ever run in a marathon himself, but he's thinking about biking one. “When I'm 18,” he said.

        Ms. Bucher said the local leukemia chapter has raised about $1.7 million in the last year, with much of that coming from Team in Training donations. The society has a roster of 57 patients, or heroes, that runners can compete on behalf of, she said.


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