Doughnut dash nets cash

Islanders making a Krispy Kreme doughnut run can usually complete the round-trip in less than an hour, depending on traffic and doughnut availability. But that’s only if you’re driving.

Last Saturday, six members of Oak Harbor High School’s cross-country team made the “run” literal by legging it from Oak Harbor to Burlington in five and a half hours.

Richard Carter, Chad Tacia, Tony Nicolas, Chris Wichers, David Marriott and Steve Lemme ran 30 miles to raise money for Jared Davis, a cross-country team member who is fighting a rare form of cancer.

“We wanted to do something for Jared,” Carter said. “But it had to mean something to him.”

Carter organized the run in only a few days, yet the effort raised approximately $1,400 in donations from family, friends and local businesses. All proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society in honor of Jared Davis.

“A lot of people said to come see them after we finished,” Tacia said. “They didn’t think we’d actually complete the run.”

Potential donors weren’t the only ones skeptical. The runners themselves weren’t positive they would finish.

“We kept asking ‘Whose idea was this’,” Tacia said.

The group often joked about running to Krispy Kreme. When Tacia suggested they run to the famous doughnut shop from Oak Harbor, the rest of group thought it was a great idea.

Tacia, Nicolas, Wichers, Marriott and Lemme are also members of the wrestling team which had its first meet Thursday. Saturday morning Carter joined them at wrestling practice to run a warm-up lap and stretch before hitting the asphalt.

Team members taunted the six with dares and doubts.

“Most guys said we’d never finish,” Marriott said.

“We weren’t sure either,” Lemme added from a table at Krispy Kreme.

The six agreed that the hardest part of the run occurred after they crossed the bridge over the Skagit River. From there to Krispy Kreme, it was flat, straight running.

At least one parent, Richard Carter’s father, Dan, never doubted the outcome.

“They’re great kids in great shape,” he said. “Besides, 17 and 18-year-olds can do anything.”

The life of one Oak Harbor 17-year-old isn’t as clear. Jared Davis has synovial cell sarcoma, a cancer of the connective tissue. Davis has undergone surgery to remove a tumor from his leg, radiation and numerous rounds of chemotherapy. The cancer has moved to both lungs. He’s on his fifth experimental treatment.

Davis amazed, grateful for effort

Tuesday Davis spoke about his friends and teammates from his living room. He admitted to being surprised when his friends asked if he minded them making the run for him.

“Most teens would not make that much effort to do something so extreme,” he said. “If I had been been physically capable, I would have loved to have been out there running with them.”

Davis, his father, Jeff, mother, Sheri, and brother, Trevor, are excited to see the money going for research to help other cancer patients and their families. But the run itself means much more.

“The support and prayers we have received from so many people is special,” Sheri said. “It’s wonderful to see what people will do.”

Although Jared’s prognosis is grim, he’s not surrendering to disease, doubt or self-pity.

“Life is still good,” he said.

His doctors tell him to do what he feels like. In early October, that meant completing a cross-country meet while on chemotherapy. “I had to be dragged from the finish line,” he laughed. “But it was important to me to compete this season.”

He and his family maintain a normal life by attending church, seeing friends and family and hoping a new drug or treatment will make a difference to Jared or someone else.

“If all else fails, I’m providing researchers with data,” Jared said.

Jared and his family look forward to March 2004. When Jared turns 18, more experimental drugs and treatments will be available to him.

But long before then, Jared hopes to see his friends and runners.

“I like to get to the high school and catch up with people,” he said. “I need to say thanks to them all.”

Runners return to Whidbey

For the return trip to Whidbey Island, the foot-sore group hobbled from Krispy Kreme into parents’ vans and cars. None wanted to think about running for several days.

“I’m going to get Mom to bring me my X-Box in bed tomorrow,” one groaned. On the ride home, they discussed the coming week at school. Five had wrestling practice Monday but doubted they would practice too hard. Wednesday, wrestling coach Brian Farmer said the group did fine at practice.

“They were sore,” he said. “Luckily, wrestlers don’t spend that much time on their feet.”

The coach never doubted the group would complete their run. “They ran for a great cause. And when this group decides to do something, they do it.”

Cross-country coach Seth Hodges said the run was a mental challenge more than a physical one since the team was still fit from its recently-ended cross-country season.

“It was a fitting way to end the season for these guys — and careers for a couple of them,” Hodges said. “Jared has been so inspirational for the whole team. He treats his condition with such a positive attitude and frankness that the people around him can be nothing but amazed.”

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