By Mike Schuh

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — WJZ is proud as part of our continuing community commitment to be a sponsor of the Maryland Half Marathon.

Ask a cancer researcher, as Mike Schuh did, and they’ll tell you that with more money, they can save more lives.

The idea is that a bunch of people pay to run around in a big 13-mile circle so cancer patients like Marty Melley get to live. Melley was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and given between three and five years to live 13 years ago. His doctor at the Greenebaum Cancer Center pioneered a way to supercharge his blood and re-inject it back into him and let it battle his cancer. It’s a cancer that usually returns—and it did—but Melley got into a second experimental trial. Just in time, his doctor, Aaron Rapoport, found a way to genetically engineer a new treatment.

“The 13 years I’ve been with you have been really fulfilling,” he said.

Dr. Rapoport gets a kick out of Melley’s custom hats. He regularly shows up with a new one; the latest talks about the upcoming Maryland Half Marathon. Rapoport runs in it to raise money; Melley pays his doctor not to have to run it.

“So what I do each year is give him $100 toward my life,” said Melley.

He’s giving $1,300 this year. That, along with 1,500 entrants and many grateful patients, puts the cancer center closer to its goal. The money is used to fund these expensive trials and research.

You won’t see Dr. Rapoport in this year’s race; it’s on the Jewish Sabbath. He’ll run the 13 miles the next day, often thinking about his patients.

“Their race and their journey is much more arduous than mine,” he said.

The Maryland Half Marathon and 5K is the weekend after next, May 14, at 8 a.m. It will be held at Maple Lawn in Howard County; it costs $75 to enter.


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