Running toward a cure

Miles 2 Give | Special to the Daily

To help

Former Eagle County teacher John McKay is one of three people running 3,000 miles across the country, from the Golden Gate Bridge to Washington, D.C. They’re raising money for the fight against sarcoma through the Sarcoma Foundation of America. To donate and for more information, go to All the money goes to research. Miles 2 Give is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure for Sarcoma.

VAIL — When John McKay says he’s trying to run down a cure for cancer, he means exactly what he says.

McKay is a former teacher in Eagle County who teamed up with Landon Cooper and Ryan Priest to launch Miles 2 Give. They started Feb. 14, and hope to arrive in Washington, D.C., by mid-July raising money for the fight against sarcoma.

They ran through Vail and took the scenic route to Denver, through Granby, Winter Park and over Berthoud Pass.

They hope to raise $300,000. So far they’ve raised $60,000. That funds their first research grant with the Sarcoma Foundation of America.

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Keeping up with Cooper

Cooper is an ultra marathon runner and he dreamed it up. He used to be in the restaurant business, and now he does this. McKay was a teacher and probably will be again when he’s finished with this.

Priest is a college student and world traveler. Now he’s traveling for a cause.

McKay lost his mother nine months ago and took some time off to deal with all that.

He caught up with Cooper who told him about the project. McKay said it seemed like a great idea, so he laced up his running shoes and hit the road.

“It’s become more than any of us thought it would be,” McKay said.

McKay initially joined Miles 2 Give as a videographer and photographer. A few weeks ago in Utah, it became clear that running along with Cooper would help the team, so McKay laced up his running shoes and started logging miles.

They cover 26 miles a day.

Each morning they dedicate that day’s run to someone fighting sarcoma, then call that person and tell them about it.

Before they start running they write that person’s names on their faces and on top of their RV.

“It’s becoming something of a rolling museum,” McKay said.

There was Ashton. They met her in a Salt Lake City hospital. They got on their Facebook page and asked people to mail sand to her from different parts of the world because she loves the beach. It rolled in from all over the globe.

“We got a call from her parents a week later,” McKay said.

They feared the worst, but heard the best. Ashton she was cancer free, McKay said.

There’s a guy in Nebraska who’s making them a cancer bell. When people finish chemotherapy and are cancer free, they ring a cancer bell.

Sarcoma is a cancer of the connective tissue: Bones, muscles, fat, nerves, and tendons. It affects approximately 12,000 Americans each year.

With early detection and aggressive treatment, sarcoma can be cured in 60-70 percent of patients, McKay said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935, and

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