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Cruz Bay
Thursday, June 13, 2024


Nov. 19, 2001 – Last April, Elliott "Mac" Davis ran the Nashville Country Music Marathon for fun. Next January, his wife and his daughter will be running a half-marathon for a cause — to honor a 5-year-old leukemia patient and to raise funds for fighting that form of cancer.
Debbie Davis said there's a history of cancer in her family that has touched her husband, her father and her grandmother. After his Nashville run, Mac Davis started making plans to do the Disney marathon in Orlando, Fla., next January and asked Debbie and their 17-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, to come along. But they weren't really enthusiastic about the idea.
"We run for fitness, and that's fun, but a 13.5 mile marathon?" Debbie Davis said. "Then I found out about the Leukemia Society's Team in Training, which is running the half-marathon for 5-year-old Thomas Giallella." The child was diagnosed with leukemia in 1999 and has been fighting the disease for half of his short life.
With the help of cutting-edge experimental treatments, Debbie Davis said, Thomas's leukemia is in remission, but "others with this disease are not so lucky, and research efforts provide their only hope."
Debbie Davis has started a mail campaign to raise money for the event. Her goal is to raise $5,000 for the Leukemia Society. "The response has been wonderful," she said, with donations so far mainly from family friends, acquaintances and others on her Christmas card list. However, she has a ways to go to achieve her goal.
"I'm a natural sales person," the daughter of Marilyn and Joe Kreke, born and raised on St. Thomas, said. "I've been in sales all my life," so the skill was there, along with the impetus.
"We have had very rough times with cancer, and so have other families," she said. She and Elizabeth will also be honoring the memories of friends and family members who have been affected by cancer, including her Mac Davis, Joe Kreke, Clara Moron, Ellie Heckert and Kathy Streibich.
Debbie Davis said the thing that has most impressed her in the campaign is her daughter. "A lot of teen-agers aren't going to make the commitment it takes," she said. "We do a 10-mile run about 5 a.m. every Sunday, which means staying home and going to bed early on Saturday night. I know I wouldn't have done that in order to get up at 4:30 to go run with a bunch of older women — I'd have been partying."
In addition to the Sunday run, mother and daughter run between three and five miles four days a week. Elizabeth, a senior at Antilles School, is a cross-country athlete. Her coach, Aaron Isaac, was so impressed with Elizabeth's dedication that he cited it in his letter of recommendation to Brown University, where she has applied.
"We've had checks from $25 to $500," Debbie Davis said. One came from the family Elizabeth baby-sits for — after they found out that a close relative had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
She is hoping to close the campaign and get the money to the Leukemia Society by the end of November. Donations may be made by check made out to The Leukemia Society and mailed to Davis at PO Box 1446, St. Thomas VI 00804.

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