Bend women run 48 hours for boy battling tumor

Gavin Zweers, 5, recently had tumor removed from stomach

POSTED: 9:06 PM PDT April 21, 2013 
BEND, Ore. -

Seven Bend women on Sunday completed a nearly 280-mile, 48-hour-nonstop relay race to raise money and support a local boy recently battling a large tumor.

Five-year-old Gavin Zweers had a tumor the size of a grapefruit recently removed from his stomach.

It turned out the tumor wasn't cancerous, but the challenge has left the Zweers family with massive medical bills.

"Gavin the Great's Run" started on Friday at the Athletic Club of Bend, and relay members ran up Century Drive, through Sunriver and La Pine,and back to Bend -- then did the loop again.

Rotating between running and resting in a following van,  organizer Annette Benedetti said Sunday they were met with acts of kindness along the way, like bicyclists who joined them and lit their path.

The team arrived back at the Athletic Club of Bend on Sunday afternoon -- but didn't stop at the finish line.

A cheering crowd met them, then joined in with the relay team, Gavin and his family to take on a 5K run along the Deschutes River.

More than 30 people and several local businesses rallied together to support Gavin and his family.

"(We're) totally overwhelmed by all of the support that we've got from the Bend community, and all of our friends," said Gavin's mom, Krista Zweers.

Benedetti said the goal was to "show this little boy that when things get bad, that there's a whole community to lift him up."

The runners were sponsored on their relay with per-mile donations.

Organizers were still calculating donations on Sunday, but have raised about $3,500 toward their goal of $10,000 to help offset Gavin's medical expenses.

If you would like to support Gavin's cause, you can learn more donate at: http://www.gofundme.com/running-for-gavin

To learn more about Gavin and the Great Gavin's Run you can also visit their Facebook Page: Gavin the Great's Run.