Rogillio travels to Austin for cancer awareness

Published 12:22 am Sunday, October 19, 2008

NATCHEZ — A local woman is traveling 450 miles to fight cancer.

Summer Rogillio, 21, of Natchez, will participate in the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s 2008 LIVESTRONG Challenge 5k Run/Walk in Austin, Texas, on Oct. 25 to raise money and awareness to combat the deadly disease.

“I’m doing it because my grandmother actually died of cancer a few years back, and I’ve had a couple other people close to me die of cancer, so I wanted to do it in honor of them,” Rogillio said. “I wanted to say that I did something that only happened four times a year in four cities.”

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Rogillio paid a $50 entry fee and must raise $250 dollars to participate, although she said her personal goal is $3,000.

While she said she is not even close to that amount with just under a week to go, she planned to hold a fundraiser this weekend.

“It’s not like I’m raising money for myself,” she said. “It’s a really big foundation as far as cancer research and support is concerned.”

Rogillio has a Web site,, set up to accept donations.

According to the Challenge’s Web site, a $10 donation provides 16 cancer survivors with information on support and inspiration. A $50 donation gives 36 people information on how to survive cancer.

Donations of $155 give a cancer survivor one-on-one support through the LIVESTRONG SurvivorCare program, and $250 gives Survivorship notebooks to 27 people who beat cancer.

The money also goes toward prevention research and patient care.

“I’ll be wearing a tag with my number on it that says, ‘In Memory of Earlene Thompson,’” Rogillio said. “I have all these pins and cancer booklets that I’d really love to give out. I don’t think anybody in the Natchez area is doing this but me.”

Rogillio said she was supposed to be accompanied in the race by a friend from her office, but due to extenuating circumstances, she will now be going alone.

That means she has to pay for her own travel and hotel room instead of splitting the costs.

But while she will accept donations to help fund the cost, she would rather see the money go to the foundation.

The cutoff date for donations is Oct. 23.

“My mom, she got kind of teary eyed and said she was very proud of me,” Rogillio said. “My friends are all looking forward to donating.”

Rogillio may participate in the bike ride the day after the 5k, depending on how she feels.

She learned about the race in June, she said, when she was glancing through a magazine in Walmart.

She said when she heard about the race, she knew it was not only a motivation to get in shape, but also to honor her family.

“There was an ad that said, ‘Go ahead. Put up a fight,’” she said. “I checked it out online and said, ‘I have to do this.’”