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Luke convinced a team of ten to give BIG (from Philly to Cali)

What do you get when you combine tenacity, determination, and perseverance and sprinkle in some warmth, generosity, humanity and the will to do more? You get heart…10 hearts to be exact.

One Sunday in April, a team of 10 ran the Big Sur Marathon in California and revealed a rare combination of courage and teamwork.

It took only a bit of convincing for Luke Devey, director of Translational Medicine, to encourage several of his colleagues in the Philadelphia area to agree to join him in the race of their lives—the Big Sur Marathon—to raise money for Save the Children. This race has a reputation for being challenging - it takes the average runner an additional 15 minutes to complete compared with a flat course. Most famous of the challenges at Big Sur is the brutal 500 foot climb from mile 9 to 11, during which the runners are spurred on by the throbbing beat of Taiko drums.


“When we reached the summit we were rewarded with stunning views, and despite perfect weather, a headwind to justify the name ‘Hurricane Point,’ followed by a long descent to the iconic Bixby bridge and smaller but relentless hills that tortured us right up to mile 25.5. I cannot tell you just how welcome the sight of the finish line was at mile 26.2!

And just to give you an idea of the type of courage that was displayed -- one of our Big Sur Marathoners, Laura, developed an excruciatingly painful foot half way through the race. She endured hours of agony as she persevered through the race and her colleagues, Jacqui and Thuy, chose to sacrifice their own finish times in the interest of helping Laura complete the race. As they arrived in front of the grandstand, Laura crossed the finish line on the shoulders of her teammates. And thanks to her teammates’ support, Laura was able to finish in 5:56s…only four minutes shy of the 6-hour limit. Now, that is heart!” – shared Luke.

For the runners, the real significance of this event was not just in the spirit of team but it was the spirit of giving. Money raised for the race went to our partners at Save the Children. Our partnership combines GSK’s scientific expertise and financial resources with Save the Children’s on-the-ground knowledge to change the lives of children in the US and around the world.

In total the runners raised $15k, which will go to Save the Children to help support disaster relief for communities in the US.

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