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Surprise for Valley Student Battling Cancer

Clovis North senior battling Hodgkin's Lymphoma
Runners at the Third Annual Clovis North Cross Country Twilight Invitational had some extra motivation on Friday.

Clovis North senior Hannah Mayer is fighting Hodgkins Lymphoma and her story was an inspiration not only to athletes, but also to a family friend, who ran the Nike Women's Half Marathon in San Francisco in her honor. On Friday, a surprise tribute to her kicked off.

If you've ever run in high school, you may have had a coach yell at you to run as if your life depended on it. If you've ever run for Team in Training, you know you're running as if someone else's life depended on it. That kind of selflessness was recognized at the Clovis North Twilight Invitational.

Senior year, it just might be the most exciting time you have in high school. Hannah Mayer was preparing for it when she got the news.

"I was diagnosed July 31st, 2013," said Mayer.

It was hodgkins lymphoma and it seemed like an uphill race. But she wouldn't have to go it alone as family and friends rallied. She was voted homecoming queen, some cut their hair and donated to Locks of Love. Others ran races in her honor, Rita Dei, a close family friend.

"You're doing something for them at that point in their lives they can't do. You're doing it for a reason, for a purpose," says Dei.

Rita ran the Nike Women's Half Marathon in San Francisco as a tribute to Hannah and her race to beat Hodgkins Lymphoma. Firefighters presented the finishers with a necklace from Tiffany. Rita wanted Hannah to have hers. It was a surprise and it was presented to Hannah in much the same way, by Fresno firefighters.

"I love Tiffany. It's a little shiny necklace. It was the greatest feeling. I love it," Hannah said.

She's like most girls in high school but this night she's an inspiration to 1500 kids from 25 schools across the valley at the Third Annual Clovis North Twilight Invitational as they listened to Hannah's story.

"I just got done with my 6th treatment," exclaimed Mayer. And she's half way done. A full recovery is expected but the necklace is Hannah's reminder. "Rita's just an awesome person. And she told me pay it forward. So I will run the race she ran when I'm healthy and back to normal. And I'll pay it forward just like her."

Hannah actually qualified for a Make-a-Wish opportunity, but turned it down. She was determined and said, 'I'm not dying.'
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