Gordon in the News: last updated 11/03/2009

Two Gordon College Staff Fight Cancer Through Running

November 2, 2009
Jo Kadlecek
Office of College Communication
WENHAM, MA—Oliver is running for Julie. Julie is running for Sandy. And Sandy is running for, well, strangers. All three are determined to cross not one, but two finish lines.
The threesome are a part of the American Cancer Society’s DetermiNation endurance event program, where friends train for months, raise financial support and awareness and then complete a half or a full marathon—together. They donate the proceeds to cancer research in hopes of ending the disease. Though there are races across the country, these three have spent the last six months preparing for a November 15 Rock n Roll marathon in San Antonio, Texas.
Oliver Goodrich, assistant director of first year experiences at Gordon College, began training because of his friend and supervisor, Julie Ray, associate dean of the first year experience at Gordon. He’d been inspired by Ray’s commitment to her long time friend, Sandy Sackrison of Allen, Texas, who’d been training the previous year when a diagnosis of breast cancer interrupted her running plans. So Ray stepped in for Sackrison and began training for the marathon while Sackrison underwent surgery and chemotherapy.
“I’d never enjoyed running before,” Goodrich said. “But when her friend broke the news to her, Julie’s response was to inconvenience her own life to such a degree that her friend would receive this gesture of empathy. That inspired me.”
Then in the middle of Ray’s training last spring, she herself was diagnosed with breast cancer. So when she began treatment, Goodrich started running.  Now with Sackrison and Ray cancer-free, the three are part of a team they refer to as “Breast Friends,” hoping to raise a combined $4000 by the time they get to the San Antonio starting line.

“Last week I passed the six-month mark after my breast cancer diagnosis,” Ray said. “When Oliver saw I wouldn’t be able to fulfill my commitment to Sandy, he began to train for all of us. Now it’s amazing to see how interconnected our lives have become, so that by November 15, our adventure in solidarity—with the support of so many other friends along the way—will take a new path as we run together.”

As part of their American Cancer Society DetermiNation team, Goodrich and his father will run the full 26 miles; Ray, Sackrison and her husband Gary will run a half marathon.

For more information or to set up an interview, contact Jo.Kadlecek@gordon.edu or visit the American Cancer Society DetermiNation website.

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Gordon College is a Christian college of the liberal arts and sciences on Boston's North Shore. The College offers majors in 37 fields and has graduate programs in education and music education. Leading the way in Christian college merit, Gordon is nationally ranked for its excellence in academics and its role in character building. These achievements recognize Gordon as one of the nation's top Christian colleges.


Julie Ray
Oliver Goodrich