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Community rallies for Auburn man stricken with leukemia

By: Jenifer Gee, Journal Staff Writer
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Dan Moores struggled with what to say about the community’s desire to help him and his family. The Auburn Running Company storeowner said he never thought he’d be where is today. A two-time finisher of the 100-mile Western States Endurance Run, Moores was diagnosed with leukemia on Nov. 20 and has remained hospitalized at the Kaiser Roseville Medical Center ever since. “I’ve never been sick my entire life and to have this happen out of the blue, well, obviously it was a shock,” Moores said from his hospital room Friday. He’s undergone two rounds of chemotherapy and said going to a hospital in Stanford to receive a bone marrow transplant is a strong possibility. The news of Moores’ sudden illness has shocked the Auburn running community, said Greg Soderlund, race director for the Western States Endurance Run. “We decided to do something to help support Dan because he does a lot to support the running community not only in Auburn but in Northern California,” Soderlund said. Soderlund and Mo Bartley, a five-time Western States finisher, met up about a month ago and agreed they wanted to find a way to help Moores and his family. They decided to hold a fundraising-run to help offset Moores’ rising and unexpected medical costs On Saturday, Bartley said she was happy with the strong turnout. The run lasted from 8 a.m. to noon at the Placer High School track and included a variety of runners who ranged in attire from professional cold weather gear to teens walking in plaid pajama pants. Participants were asked to donate $10 a mile or whatever they could spare. “I think it goes without saying Dan is a big part of the running community,” Bartley said Saturday. “And anybody who has a bad chapter in their life, we support them.” Auburn resident Sara Liebert pushed her 16-month-old daughter Hannah in a stroller as she jogged around the track Saturday morning. “Everybody needs a little help and this is a painless way of doing it,” Liebert said. Moores’ neighbors Dana and George Rook were taking a slow jog around the track while carrying their two young daughters, Isabella, 4, and Avery, 16 months, to show support for a “nice guy.” “When our neighbors need help, we come out and help,” George Rook said. George joked that he connected his neighbor over Moores’ dog, whose name is also George. Fellow Western States runner Dave Van Wicklin also shared his connection with Moores. “We share the same birthday,” Van Wicklin said. Moores, who opened up his shop in Downtown Auburn five years ago, said he “had no idea” that so many people knew him. “The support in the community has been just unbelievable and it goes beyond this fundraiser,” Moores said. He said one of the walls in his small hospital room is covered in cards, employees are telling him that many people have offered to work in the store, others have walked his dog and even mowed his lawn. Moores’ wife, Patrice, said the help from friends and community members was also something she didn’t expect. After her husband’s diagnosis, one of Patrice’s friends, who had undergone a similar experience, told her that people naturally “come out of the woodwork” to help. “It’s never been more apparent to me how good people are,” Patrice Moores said. Neighbor and friend Bob Dickinson volunteered at the Saturday run. He described Moores as a very “successful” and “determined” athlete who volunteers and offers encouragement for events he’s not participating in. Moores is also a valuable source of advice for all runners who come to his store, Dickinson said. Moores has been an especially helpful cheerleader for Dickinson during Western States runs. Moores usually mans an aide station that is about 60 miles into the 100-mile jaunt, Dickinson said. “He’s helped me out in my times of need by encouraging me when I’m at a race and maybe having a low point,” Dickinson said. “Hopefully during his time of need I’ll be able to do that for him.” Dickinson added that he’s anxious for Moores’ return home. “I can’t wait to give him a big hug,” Dickinson said. And for Moores, this is a time of need. He said some days are more difficult than others, and recently he had his first negative reaction to the chemotherapy treatments. He chalks it up as part of the process and counts himself as one of the lucky ones that he’s been feeling good most days since his diagnosis. “I’m trying not to think too much about where this could all go,” Moores said. “I’m trying to stay positive and hope for the best. I think things look really good. I think I have a very good chance of beating this.” The Journal’s Jenifer Gee can be reached at jeniferg@goldcountrymedia.com or post a comment at auburnjournal.com.