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Runner to race in memory of his daughter

Runner to race in memory of his daughter



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SALT LAKE CITY -- People run races for all kinds of reasons, but one Utah man is running Saturday's Salt Lake City Marathon in the memory of the daughter he lost to cancer.

Travis Hess is a cancer survivor himself. His daughter, Alexis, died 10 years ago at age three of a rare childhood cancer.

"We didn't know how we were going to pay for her funeral and it was very devastating," Hess recalls, saying he didn't have life insurance for the little girl. "And someone was nice enough to donate a thousand dollars."

Hess still doesn't know who gave that gift to his family, but it inspired him to do the same for others. He founded the Hess Cancer Foundation, raising money to help families who've lost children to cancer honor them in death.

"We have since helped 17 families that have gone through the same thing," Hess says.

His foundation's theme is "Fitness for the Fight," meaning the fight against cancer. Hess raises funds by taking part in events like the Salt Lake City Marathon.

Hess still carries a picture of Alexis in his planner and says he thinks of her every day.

"She loved rainbows. We got to go to Disneyland with her, the Make-A-Wish Foundation sent us to Disneyland before she passed away, and she was just wonderful," Hess says. "She was a very courageous little girl."

Hess says Alexis inspires him to stay healthy and in shape and to keep helping other parents who've lost a child.

"They should not be put through the humiliation of not being able to pay for their own child's funeral," he says, "so I take great satisfaction in being able to help them."

Registration is open through 8 p.m. Friday for the marathon, half-marathon, 5K and bike ride. People interested in taking part or volunteering can go to the Salt Palace Convention Center until that time to sign up.

For more information about the Hess Cancer Foundation, [CLICK HERE]. The site includes pictures and stories about the families who have been helped, along with information about volunteering and how to get in touch with Travis Hess.

E-mail: bbruce@ksl.com

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Becky Bruce

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