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Author Topic: DN - RUNNING for LIFE  (Read 666 times)
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« on: June 21, 2009, 03:44:24 PM »

from the Derry News

By Julie Huss
June 11, 2009 06:58 am

Gary Aramini had a lot to look forward on that spring day.

He took a deep breath and dipped a foot in the cool Pacific Ocean on a sandy beach near San Fransisco. The 20-year-old then began a summer-long mission and headed home.

It was May, 1984 when this young man from Chester decided to run across the country in the name of those suffering from cancer.

And it was the name of a dear young friend, Billy Clay, who died of the disease, that gave Ararmini the drive to run.

Aramini became a bit of a celebrity that summer, greeting cancer patients in small towns, and gathering support for his cause as he ran. The honored former athlete at Pinkerton Academy once said he wanted to take on the pain of everyone battling the disease and somehow make a difference.

He touched many hearts as he ran and now, 25 years later, Aramini plans to celebrate the milestone and return to New Hampshire for the Greater Derry/Londonderry Relay for Life on June 19 at Pinkerton Academy.

In information sent to the Derry News, Ararmini, now living in High Point, North Carolina, said he wanted to return in 2009 to celebrate and honor the life of his young friend Billy and to continue his quest to help battle cancer.

"I was always taught by my parents that the strong are to take care of the weak, until the weak can become strong again," he said. "My intention is to jog in this year's Relay for those who are still living with cancer and to honor them in their valiant fight against cancer."

The Derry News regularly gave readers an inside look into Aramini's journey that summer, offering updates on his progress and location as he headed to the east coast. And Aramini would call the local newspaper to give insight on how he was feeling along the way. Pages of donations from strangers, friends, family members, businesses, and organizations filled the paper that summer.

"Aramini said there's not a day that goes by during which he does not cry for one reason or another," the Derry News reported on July 19, 1984. "He said some days he cries because of the people he meets who tell him stories of cancer-related incidents. Other times he cries when he thinks of all the people who are helping him."

And many helped. When Gary finally arrived at his destination at Hampton Beach, he had run 3,480 miles, and raised thousands of dollars to help the cancer cause in the name of his friend Billy. In the end, more than $500,000 was raised for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

Chester resident Carolyn Carey worked at the Derry News at the time of Aramini's monumental run and said many people got behind the young man's cause.

"it was something that just touched everybody," Carey said. "Everybody waited for daily news about Gary; it was a community involvement."

She added the Aramini family was loved by many and was an integral part of the close-knit Chester community at that time.

At this year's Relay, Aramini will run again to help people battling the disease.

"Today, in 2009, I still run with a purpose," Aramini said. He invites people to come out to the event, meet those fighting cancer, those walking the track to make a difference, and to greet him and help him raise funds to continue the fight.

Last year's Derry/Londonderry Relay for Life event raised $200,865 with 68 teams participating. The goal for the 2009 event is to raise $250,000 with 85 teams.

For more information, visit

Glenn Douglas
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