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When Elizabeth Dolan was a camp counselor, she learned first-hand how challenging, both financially and emotionally, it can be for parents whose children have cancer. She vowed to make a difference and she has.

A junior at Academy of the Holy Names in Tampa, where she is captain of the cross-country team, Elizabeth approached the cross-country teams at 12 area high schools with the idea of putting on a combined community-wide fundraising event.

With a governing board of 25 students from the different schools, Elizabeth launched Cross Out Cancer, a unique nonprofit organization providing support to pediatric oncology patients and their families at All Children’s Hospital.

In partnership with the Tampa Bay Lightning, PwC, Mission Critical Solutions, EATS! American Grill restaurant, and many other corporate sponsors, Cross Out Cancer held its first annual dinner and 5K race last November. Some 425 runners participated and the students raised more than $42,000, far surpassing the original goal of $20,000.

“My vision was to unite the area high school cross country teams and give all of us an opportunity to be involved in a worthy cause,” said Elizabeth. “Everyone has been so generous in coming forward to support us and we are very grateful.”

In addition to the Academy of Holy Names, high schools participating in Cross Out Cancer include: Alonso, Berkeley, Calvary Christian, Clearwater Central Catholic, Chamberlain, H.B. Plant, Jesuit, Robinson, Sickles, Tampa Preparatory and Wiregrass Ranch.

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