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Pamela “PJ” Butz, left, and her sister, Jeanine, after
completing the 2011 Chicago Marathon.

Butz ’13 carries personal incentives into first Boston Marathon run 

Student teaching, campus involvement, and marathon training occupy the busy schedule of Pamela J. “PJ” Butz ’13 (Randolph, Mass.), a Providence College music education major who will run her first Boston Marathon on April 15 with special intentions — to remember her father and to raise money for cancer research.

Her upcoming run for charity through the Run for Research Team is just the latest chapter in a heartwarming story of a student renowned for her personal commitment and conviction.

Butz’s portfolio is as impressive as it is lengthy. She currently student-teaches at North Attleboro (Mass.) Middle School. A member of the College’s Student Congress, she is her class president for the second consecutive year.

In addition, Butz has played in and conducted for the PC Pep Band, and is a member of the school’s running club, which she joined her sophomore year when it was created.

On top of her many involvements and her academics, Butz’s immediate focus is the world-famous Boston Marathon. She is dedicating the 26.2-mile race to her father, who died on November 6, 2011, of cholangiocarcinoma, a rare bile duct cancer of the liver.

“My sister (Jeanine) and I ran the Chicago Marathon,” she said. “My dad called me after the race and told me he had a mass in his shoulder, but that he felt all right. Two weeks later he was in the ICU.”

After her father passed away, Butz looked for a way to help others who struggle with liver diseases. Through the Run for Research Team, she found the opportunity to support a special cause with one of her passions — running.

“I had already crossed running a marathon off my bucket list, but I felt that I needed to run the Boston Marathon for a cause so close to me. It is just something I feel like I have to do,” said Butz, who will run the marathon with her older sister, Jeanine.

Easily outpacing fund-raising goal

Although the Run for Research Team does not usually select college students, Butz was chosen after she underwent an application and interview process.

In order to run with the team, which enlists runners from across the country, members must raise at least $4,000. The funds are donated to the American Liver Foundation to help fund research on liver diseases and to help spread awareness and information to patients and the public alike.

Butz and her sister have shattered the fund-raising minimum, raising approximately $10,000. She quickly credits the PC community for its generosity, particularly students and faculty. Invitations to her senior music recital last fall indicated she was dedicating the performance to her father and sought donations to the American Liver Foundation.

In addition, Butz raised funds by organizing a concert featuring the Nick DeLeo Band. Later this month, the Randolph Community Band, an organization with which her family is affiliated, is hosting a sold-out dinner concert to support Butz and her cause.

A distance runner in outdoor track in high school, Butz actually didn’t run her first half-marathon until she joined the PC running club. In order to prepare herself for the Boston Marathon, she is participating in a program called the Liver Life Challenge, which trains people who run for support groups like the American Liver Foundation.

As the race and the end of the spring semester quickly approach, Butz has plenty on her mind, not the least of which is commencement. Balancing school, campus involvement, and marathon training is undoubtedly tough, but she has taken it in stride.

“I may have given up some of the more fun things of senior year, but it is totally worth it,” she said.

 

— Nick Tavares ’16

 
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