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Friends Rally to Raise Money for Friend Battling Cancer During Reno-Tahoe Odyssey Relay

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On Friday around 250 teams of nearly 3,000 runners kicked off the 10th annual Reno-Tahoe Odyssey relay. It's a 178 mile race from Reno, up to Truckee, Lake Tahoe, Virginia City and back to Reno. It goes overnight and for some people it's just a race, but for one group of runners it's so much more than that. They're using today's event to help raise money for one of their friends who is fighting cancer.

We first told you about Elisa Storke, 34, back in January just a few months after she'd been diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic melanoma. She's a young mother hoping to win this battle against cancer. Her team,  Elisa's Angels, is running to raise money for her treatments in the Reno-Tahoe Odyssey. "The reason that we're running this race is to raise money and to raise awareness," said Nadine Chrzanowski. "She's going through some experimental treatments right now which are quite costly."

Nadine Chrzanowski is the team captain, she works with Elisa's husband at the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. She assembled a team of coworkers and close friends to run this race. "We have 12 people on our team. 2 vans, van 1 and van 2," said Chrzanowski.

Shawnyne Garren was the first to run. "My legs all three together are just over 14 miles," said Garren. After the race started the team packed up, drove off and tailed Shawnyne to hand off some water during her stretch. Instead of passing on a batton, they were passing on a metal angel ornament that was found during a training run. The team says it's a reminder of their friend Elisa. "She's a little beat up but but with our strength she will still fly," said Garren.

The group is aiming to raise $5,000 to help Elisa cover medical costs for treatment and travel expenses. "Every little penny, every dollar helps," said Chrzanowski. "We have runners do this for causes, we have runners do it just for fun. We have runners do it just to be with each other," said Race Director Eric Lerude.

Here's the reason why the team picked this specific race... "W
e thought the race was perfect because it was synonymous with what Elisa is doing," said Chrzanowski. "In the Odyssey, there's a lot of ups and downs. It takes a special kind of will to run this race."

The race ends on Saturday at Idlewild Park in Reno. The first team of runners is expected to finish around 10:00 am. The majority of teams will finish by late morning into the afternoon around 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. 

For information on how to donate to Elisa, click here :

Written by Chloe Beardsley

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