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'Valley' crew is on the run for funds

Kind hearts, some phone calls and 13.1 miles of walking in the Arizona sunshine.

Staffers at Valley Dermatology in Sequim figure that's a recipe for success as they support Olympic Medical Center through the center's Team OMC big annual fundraiser this month.

Twelve staff members are making the trek to Phoenix to walk the P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Half Marathon Jan. 13 and, along the way, hope to raise $24,000 for Olympic Medical Center.

Dr. Claire Haycox and her husband, Tim Trosin, finished the race last year for Team OMC, raising about $10,000.

This year, they upped the goal and the participants.

"We just thought it would be a great idea to utilize the whole office," Haycox said. "(It's) a good team-building experience. It was also a good motivation for people to get exercising."

The marathon and half-marathon event brings about 35,000 runners and walkers each year to Phoenix and Scottsdale. Last year, despite abnormal, sub-freezing temperatures at the start, marathoners raised about $5.8 million for 13 charities, according to azcentral.com, while the Arizona Office of Tourism estimates they brought $44 million to the local economy.

The thing about the money Valley Dermatology staffers (and others on Team OMC) raise is that most of the funds they generate stays local, mostly toward the medical center's cardiac care department or the Sequim Cancer Center.

"I'm a big believer in thinking locally and acting locally; it just struck me as a great thing to do," Haycox said. "I think we desperately need to have great health services here on the peninsula."

When Haycox asked the staff to participate, most of them were excited at the fundraising process. With a final goal of $24,000, the staff had raised about $22,500 a week before the race.

"I did have some walk anxiety (last year), but they had rock bands every mile and it went quickly," Haycox said of her 13.1-mile jaunt in January 2007. "I think some of my staff are having some of that (anxiety) this year. I'm very proud of my team."

Valley Dermatology staff member Tina Sparks said she's looking forward to the half marathon.

"This is raising the money for the local hospital, which is great," she said. "The whole experience is going to be very exciting."

The Arizona Marathon features 70 live bands and 40 cheer squads.

Team OMC was created in 2004 to benefit Olympic Medical Center's foundation. In return for helping raise funds for the cardiac care or Sequim cancer facility, Team OMC runners/walkers get coaching, nutrition advice and training, plus entry and travel fees to the marathon and entry fees into the OMC 10K and Jingle Bell Run in November.



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