John Marburger and his family. Marburger has been battling a rare form of leukemia.

Naval officer John MarburgerGODFREY - Three women are showing their sisterly love to their brother, John Marburger, who has a rare form of leukemia with a 5K run/one-mile fun run benefit run for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).

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The three local sisters are Stephanie Bechtold, Kim Cottingham and Tara Stover. The benefit is set at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 30, at Glazebrook Park in Godfrey. Registration begins at 8 a.m.

“This is my first circumstance with someone close to me being diagnosed with leukemia," Bechtold said. "We are hoping for a nice turnout. We have a bounce house donated by a local hardware store and we are hoping to get a lot of families out. If you are not big on running, we have a one-mile fun run in addition to the 5K race. The money we raise will go directly toward LLS.”

Marburger was diagnosed with a blood disorder called Hyperosinophilic Syndrome (HES), which is a rare form of leukemia, in January 2015. For several months, doctors tried several drug treatments with little success, but then he had the bone marrow transplant in November, his sister, Stephanie Bechtold, said.

Bechtold describes her brother as “selfless” and the best he could be to his family. John is also an Edwardsville High School graduate. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.

“HES is so rare that there is no standard or treatment for it so typically doctors go through several different drugs until they find one that works,” she said. “Unfortunately, none of those worked well for John. To further complicate his case, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The doctors are fairly certain it is unrelated to the HES, though this has made his treatment even more difficult. He is recovering well now, but he is still not working.”

Bechtold said the one remaining chance for a cure for her brother, John, was the bone marrow transplant.

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“We are so lucky the doctors found a perfect match for John in an unrelated 33-year-old male from somewhere in the U.S.,” she said. “He was willing to give a gift of life to a complete stranger. For that we are all grateful.”

John is a commander in the U.S. Navy. He lives in San Mateo, Calif.

Sponsors for the run/walk for Marburger are as follows:

Gold: Glisson Law, TorHoerman Law and Argosy Casino.

Silver: John Standefer Allstate Insurance and Mungenast Alton Toyota

Bronze: Joe K’s, Liberty Bank, OSF St. Anthony’s Health Center, Dave Gibbons Country Financial, Gordon Carver and Michael Rowell.

Bottles of water, bananas and Panera Bread Co. bagels will be provided for all runners before and after the race.

The hope for Bechtold and her sisters is the money raised will help someone who is not as fortunate as their brother when something like this illness happens. The family also wants to raise awareness to the disease.

To register for the race, visit, or come by on race day to Glazebrook Park in Godfrey.

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