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David Freeze: Running for research, and friends Bare Bones 5K

Deborah Howell’s friends plan to join her for the 14th Annual Bare Bones 5K on Saturday, May 23. Howell is an avid runner who hasn’t been able to do much of it lately. She was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma on January 23, just eight days after completing a half-marathon of 13.1 miles in Charleston, S.C. “Most of what I thought about during the race was the upcoming biopsy. I had a feeling that I had cancer. I needed to feel strong because I felt like I knew what was in store for me,” said Howell.

On Saturday, Howell will participate in the Bare Bones 5K because she wants to get back to running even though she is only two months past a bilateral mastectomy. Howell continues to take chemo treatments but said, “The event will come at a good time in my treatment cycle. I want that strong feeling again.”

Reconstruction surgery has been delayed till completion of those chemo treatments, now scheduled for June 17. Howell said, “Several factors including tumor size and hormone receptors showed that it was in my best interest to have all the chemo before reconstruction.”

Along with her will be running buddies Shaina Freeze and Ashley Whitaker. Freeze said, “Deborah is one of the strongest women I know. She is full of determination and won’t even let the cancer stop her from running. Deborah got me into running a little over a year ago. She would drag me along even when I didn’t want to go.”

Whitaker added, “Without Deborah training with me for my first half marathon, I don’t know that I would have made it. She pushed me, guided me and gave me strength when I needed it most. I am here to do that for her now. I am excited to run the Bare Bones 5K with Deborah and Shaina and a lot of our friends this coming weekend.” Staff members from Partners in Learning will join Howell for the event on Saturday to honor her and contribute to Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society. Howell is the assistant executive director at Partners in Learning.

The Bare Bones 5K Run/Walk will start at Knox Middle School at 8:30 a.m. Walkers are especially encouraged to participate. Awards will be given to the overall winners and to the top three finishers in 13 age groups for both males and females. Walkers are eligible for awards.

A half-mile fun run will follow the 5K for kids 12 and under. That run will be held completely on the Knox track.

Refreshments are free to all participants. The popular recycled awards and dri-fit T-shirts given to all registrants will allow for a greater contribution to Relay for Life. Donations will be accepted on Saturday morning.

Used running shoes or any kind of athletic shoes will be collected for Rowan Helping Ministries. All active military, police department and fire department members are eligible to run at no charge just by showing their ID.

A printable race brochure is available at www.salisburyrowanrunners.org. Online registration continues at www.sportoften.com all week. More information can be obtained by calling 704-310-6741.

Deborah Howell just decided this week to schedule another half marathon. She will join Freeze and Whitaker for the Myrtle Beach Mini-Marathon in October. Howell said, “I love running with the wind blowing in my hair. I don’t have any hair now, but I will by October.”

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