Black Mountain resident and cancer patient Kenny Capps will be running through Elkin and the Yadkin Valley next week on his journey to raise money and awareness for multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer. During his time in the region, he will be joined by local runner, Josh Griswell, who is making the run from Danbury to Boone.
Capps began his run along the 1,175-mile NC Mountains-to-Sea Trail April 2, with a goal of raising $100 for each mile to benefit his nonprofit, Throwing Bones for a Cure, Inc. The nonprofit was formed by Capps in an effort to raise funds toward a cure for the blood cancer, to encourage patients to remain active despite a diagnosis and to help patients of myeloma with short-term financial and logistical needs.
Griswell has a personal connection to Capps’ goal as his mother-in-law has been a leukemia patient for more than a decade.
“As a fellow runner (go Elkin running club!), I want to support Kenny,” Griswell wrote in a recent email. “Also, if I raise my goal amount, then I’ll be able to run a few days with Kenny as he passes through this area. I hope to be able to run about 100 miles with him.”
Donations to Throwing Bones are tax deductible.
“I have been asking everyone I can to support Kenny and pass along the word of what he’s doing,” Griswell said. “I can’t imagine what it’s like to consistently wake up every day and run 20 miles for nearly two solid months. Let alone to do it with cancer.”
While most MST travelers go from the mountains downhill to the coast, Capps, 46, chose to begin his journey in the flatlands and take the hard route uphill into the mountains.
He was diagnosed with stage two multiple myeloma in January of 2015 and had to stop running due to a large bone lesion in his left hip. Multiple rounds of chemotheraphy and infusion as well as a bone marrow transplant did not result in remission for Capps.
Following all of that, the father of three reviewed what had happened during 2015 and went to his wife, Murphy Funkhouser-Capps, with the proposal of running the trail across the state.
“I’m apparently as crazy as he is,” she said. “I told him to go for it.”
During 2017, Capps trained and prepared for his journey while recruiting others, such as Griswell, to join him for as long as they were available, whether it be a day or a week. Some of those runners include ultra runners Charlie Engle, Dave McConkey of Canada, Mirna Valerno and Sandy Villenes, who just achieved the fastest transcontinental run by a woman.
He also has a support system of two crew members — Dean Hart and Chuck Dale — joining him. Hart is a retired U.S. Marine and Dale is a former U.S. Air Force serviceman. They crewed Engle, Ray Zahab and Kevin Lin as they ran across the Sahara Dessert in 2007, and aided Pete Kostelnick on his record-breaking transcontinental run across the United States in 2016.
“My goal is to show people battling this or any chronic disease that you have two choices; you can lay down and die or you can throw those bones and let them ride. I’m rolling,” Capps said.
The run will end May 24, and Capps, in addition to raising $100 per mile, is running each mile in name of someone battling or who has lost their life to the disease. Multiple myeloma has a high mortality rate and affects 30,000 new people each year.
Donations to Griswell’s run with Capps can be made at https://pages.donately.com/throwingbonesrun/fundraiser/josh-griswell-s-fundraiser. To donate in support of Capps, visit www.throwingbonesrun.org.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.