Brenda Pieplow Rupp running for Mattie 12.17.08

Written by David Green.

Brenda (Pieplow) Rupp ran a disappointing half-marathon in October, but she’s not letting that get her down. She’s back on the road every week preparing for a special run in January: the Walt Disney World Marathon.

She’s calling her effort the “Marathon for Mattie” to help out the family of her Morenci classmate, Duane Powell. Duane and his wife, Sara, remain in New York City where their daughter, Mattie, is undergoing treatment for brain cancer.

“I signed up for the Disney marathon after a disappointing one-half marathon run in the Detroit Marathon,” Brenda said.

She ran seven half-marathons last summer and was hoping for her best in Detroit when she got sick with a cold.

The principal at the school where she’s a student teacher encouraged to keep at it and go for the Disney Marathon. That sounded good for a while, until she thought about the time demands.

But then she thought about someone else.

“I heard about Duane's situation in New York that I found myself re-inspired to take on this demanding adventure,” Brenda said.  “Duane and I graduated together and we both attended the youth group at Morenci Bible Fellowship and I see him occasionally when I come back home to Morenci.”

Five other classmates were visiting the Rupps in Westland—an annual girls night out—and they started thinking about ways to help the Powell family with the costs of staying at the New York City Ronald McDonald House.

“We were just going to ask a few local groups for donations or even see if there were people willing to donate to help get this family through the next couple of months,” Brenda said. “I never dreamed the word would get out this much.”

She’s a little surprised by her decision to run, too.

“I am not a cold weather kind of girl and it is amazing that I am spending approximately five hours every Saturday putting in long runs to train for this marathon,” she said.

But she says Duane is the sort of person who would take the shirt off his back to help anyone in need, and she sees running as a good way for her to help out.

Brenda and her classmates would like any donations to go directly to the fund for the Powells: Mattie Powell Fund, First Federal Bank, Attn: Sandy Howard, 211 S. Fulton St., Wauseon, OH 43567.

“I just want to help out a friend and his family,” Brenda said.

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