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Woodland Elementary 'family' running half marathon Sunday for student battling cancer

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Woodland Elementary teacher Jennifer Smith and high school guidance counselor Rick Rettig are among several teachers running half marathons Sunday to honor 2nd grader Alex Camron, who is battling cancer.

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A little over a year ago 9-year-old Alex Carmon was diagnosed with cancer and had to leave his Woodland Elementary second-grade classroom.

Even though more than a year has gone by, his Woodland teachers and "family"  still misses him and continues to support him. His second-grade teacher and now tutor Jennifer Smith said several teachers will be running in the Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon Sunday wearing shirts with a photo of Alex on them.

"He inspired us," said Ms. Smith who will be running with the other teachers in the half marathon. "He has gone miles and miles, we are only going 13.1."

She said Alex is still going through chemotherapy and just had a bone-marrow transplant. 

"He continues to fight. He is an amazing little boy," Ms. Smith said.

When Ms. Smith told Alex about the teachers going to run or walk in it to support them, Alex's response cut her short saying "Yea, I know it is called a marathon."

Three Perrysburg High School employees have been preparing for the half-marathon too, but for other reasons.

"Whatever reason you are running, for a cause or not, it is great," said Rick Rettig, a high school guidance counselor. "[Running] has changed my attitude.  , My wife said I'm a nicer person. With all the energy I have now I'm not going to go back to a couch potato."

Mr. Rettig has lost 35 pounds preparing for the half marathon. He has also been competing with high school science teacher Kevin English who used to coach track. The two have talked some friendly smack on how well they have trained leading up to the marathon Sunday that starts at the University of Toledo.

High school English teacher Amy Farrar's husband finished the Boston Marathon last week, and she will be taking a shot at the half marathon.

Because of the bombings in Boston the run Sunday means more to the runners here, Mr. Rettig said.

"This helps show a great deal of strength at a country," he said. "I'm excited to run on multiple levels, to compete and to show the resilience as Americans." 

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com or 419-356-8786 or on Twitter at @mthompson25.

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