John Marburger's sisters, Stephanie Bechtold, Kim Cottingham and Tara Stover at the 5K/Fun Run for LLS.

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GODFREY – For Stephanie Bechtold, Kim Cottingham and Tara Stover, it means the world to them to be able support the ones they love and others who fight against a terrible disease from thousands of miles away.

Despite the cold and rainy weather in the forecast, over 100 participants gathered in support of their brother, John Marburger, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) for a 5K race and one-mile fun run at 9 a.m. this Saturday at Glazebrook Park. John Marburger is an Edwardsville High School graduate.

“We’ve had a really amazing turn out,” Bechtold said as she was checking runners in before the race began. “I just really wanted to do something for the cause since I wasn’t able to support him in his hometown.”

For a run that was “thrown together,” as Bechtold put it, participants were still elated to join in to support the cause, coming from places as far away as Tennessee to run. 

Dave Janet, SIU School of Dental Medicine and first place winner of the 5K race.Dave Janet, the first place overall winner of the race with a time of 16:22, as well as a student at SIU School of Dental Medicine, knew that he had to do this race as soon as he saw what it was for.

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“I look for races on the Internet and when I saw this one, I signed up immediately,” he said. “It’s such a great cause.”

Marburger, an Edwardsville High School graduate, lives thousands of miles away from his parents and sisters in San Mateo, Calif. while serving his his country as a commander for the U.S. Navy.

In early 2015, Marburger was diagnosed with a rare type of leukemia called Hyperosinophilic Syndrome. After drug treatments came up short, Marburger received a bone marrow transplant in November.

According to his family, John is doing well, checking in with doctors at weekly appointments and maintaining his recently diagnosed multiple sclerosis.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW PHOTO GALLERY:

RACE RESULTS COURTESY OF TOOLEN'S RUNNING START SPORTS COMING SOON... Dan Brannan also contributed to this story.

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