Meet Gerri Bear.
Gerri has been running in the Tar Heel 10 Miler and fundraising for UNC Lineberger for three years. UNC Lineberger is close to Gerri’s heart, as it is where her father, Mel, was treated for gasto-esophageal cancer for five years, until he passed in January 2013. “The staff and services at Lineberger helped extend my father’s life, while paying attention to his quality of life,” Gerri says. “They helped enable my father to meet four of his five grandchildren.”
Gerri will honor her father’s memory once more this year by participating in the 7th Annual Tar Heel 10 Miler, as one of a record-breaking 6,000 runners. She is also consistently one of the top fundraisers for the event – this year, she has already surpassed her $1,500 fundraising goal.
Chapel Hill is a special place for Gerri and her family. She, her brother and her father were all UNC-Chapel Hill graduates. Coming back on UNC’s campus to run is “exhilarating” for Gerri. “It’s such a beautiful place, especially in the spring. When I graduated nearly 20 years ago, I never dreamed I would be able to run a 10 mile race. I started running in my late 30’s, and hope to continue to run the Tar Heel 10 Miler every year that I possibly can!
On Saturday, April 26, Gerri will lace up her running shoes in Chapel Hill and hit the pavement in memory of “Papa Mel.” We will be cheering her on all along the way.