​Sewanee Student to Cross America for Cancer Victims

by Kevin Cummings, Messenger Staff Writer

When L’Or Puymartin treks through Goose Lake Valley in Oregon’s high desert and skirts the beaches of Lake Erie, her grandparents will be close at heart, along with many others who’ve faced cancer.
Three of her grandparents died from the disease, and Puymartin herself was diagnosed with thyroid cancer her senior year of high school. This summer, in remembrance of her family and friends who have been struck by cancer, the Sewanee senior will run across the country in the 4K for Cancer. She expects the trek to be a restorative experience.
“Everyone is like, ‘That’s insane,’ but super supportive nonetheless and very excited for me, too,” she said while sitting outside Stirling’s Coffee House. “I’ve always been a fan of running. It’s a great way to clear my mind and it’s healing at the same time.”
The relay-style run, which benefits the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, begins in San Francisco and ends 49 days later in New York City. Puymartin has already garnered about half of her $10,000 fundraising goal, with the money assisting young adults with cancer.
“Every cent matters,” she said. “All money goes toward patients and families, for things like resources for academics, health and pre- and post-treatment.”
Three vans will accompany teams, one that goes to the destination spot for the day and two that stay with the runners, Puymartin said. She added that she expects runners to average 10 to 15 miles per day individually, while taking turns on the road. There will be a rest day about every three to six days.
Puymartin, who is a Sewanee track athlete and student assistant fire chief, is from Los Angeles but was born outside Paris, France. She was a soccer forward at her high school in Connecticut, when thyroid cancer ended her senior season. She had surgery to remove the cancer and after radiation treatment, has been cancer free since.
Even before her diagnosis, she was interested in helping others with the disease. Her mom is Lebanese and Puymartin spent two summers volunteering in Beirut at Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon.
To donate to her fundraising drive, talk to Puymartin around campus or visit her webpage at https://ulman.z2systems.com/Lor-puymartin.
In conjunction with her fundraising efforts, she is hosting a public bone marrow drive on Monday, Feb. 13, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the first floor of Spencer Hall. She said the procedure involves a simple mouth swab, with the results going into a donor registry.