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Former college wrestler Eric Devos took on the challenge of running a marathon to raise over $5,000, split between the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the ALS Association's Iowa Chapter.

Running Down a Cure for Mom and Dad

When Eric DeVos’ parents were taken ill, he dusted off the running shoes and found a way to support:By running a marathon in their honor.

The decision to take on the marathon was not easy for the former college wrestler who has undergone knee and back surgeries, and hadn’t run more than a mile in four years. With his mother’s diagnosis of Stage 4 breast cancer and his father’ continued battle with ALS, DeVos has plenty of inspiration to fight through the aches and pains and run the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon on March 17th in his parents’ name regardless.

DeVos was surprised at the support his campaign has generated, and advises anyone considering a self-started, charitable mission to not sell themselves short.

“When I made the $5,000 goal, I didn't think I would get even half of that. However, the kindness of people and your own desire to make a difference can take you a long way. This is my first self-started charitable fundraiser, but I know for a fact it will not be my last.”

DeVos’ father has been battling ALS since his diagnosis in 2010. His mother received her diagnosis after 12 years in remission. With his desire to honor both of his parents, he is splitting the proceeds of the pledges he’s earned between the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the ALS Association’s Iowa Chapter.

“I really wanted to do something to honor both my parents, raise awareness, and raise money for foundations that are working to eliminate these diseases,” DeVos explained. “Wrestling for 20 years took a toll on my body; especially my back and knees. Prior to training for this marathon, I hadn't run more than a mile in nearly four years. However, this physical challenge is nothing compared to the struggles and challenges my parents face on a daily basis.”

DeVos had the good fortune to rely on strong bonds made through years of friendships to help promote his campaign. “I'm very fortunate to be part of some great communities, whether it be my hometown, my parents’ hometown, or the wrestling family. Pledge It has definitely made it easy for these amazing people to donate and help raise money for these associations. The people that have made these donations have a special place in my heart, and I'll be thinking about every one of them when I am running the marathon.”