Cowle to run 4,000 miles in support of young adult cancer treatment


Liz Cowle trains for her 4,000 mile run from San Fransisco to Baltimore to begin this summer for young adult cancer awareness and fundraising. 

Kate Jamison, Staff Reporter

For Tulane graduate student Liz Cowle, running 4,000 miles is marked not only by the mile posts, but also by the lives she touches along the way. 

This summer, Cowle will run from San Francisco to Baltimore, to fundraise and bring awareness to the struggles of young adults with cancer. 

Cowle said she has felt a connection to the cancer community ever since she lost her mother to breast cancer at a young age.

“She was diagnosed with cancer a week before I was born,” Cowle said. “My whole childhood was my mom being sick. She left us videos and letters. To look back on that and see her go from this healthy and beautiful woman to frail, fragile and bald … she’s completely unrecognizable. My story is something that has happened to so many people. So many of my friends have also been affected by cancer.”

The Ulman Cancer Fund’s website states that young adults are an often-overlooked cancer group that has been studied far less than any other cancer group. This fact inspired Cowle to participate in the Ulman Cancer Fund’s Young Adults’ 4k run, representing the 4,000 miles between San Francisco and Baltimore. 

Cowle is currently pursuing her Master’s of Accounting degree through the A.B. Freeman School of Business, and she received a Bachelor of Science in Management and Finance from Tulane last spring. 

Cowle said between being a full-time graduate student and a full-time 4,000-mile run trainee, managing her time has been a balancing act. She quit her job as a financial accountant to accommodate for her busy training schedule. She wakes up at 6 a.m. every day to get in her workouts before class.

“On weeks where I have midterms and stuff it can be overwhelming, but when I take a step back and look at the big picture I know that if I put in the time now I will come out at the end, and it will be such a reward,” Cowle said. “That’s what keeps me going through it.”

She has already raised more than $12,000 toward her goal of $20,000. Cowle initially set her goal at $6,000 but reached close to that amount within about three weeks. She then reached her second goal of $10,000 within another month before she increased her goal to $20,000.

“I still had four months until [the race began], so I said, ‘Why not just go big?'” Cowle said.

Of the money raised, only 11 cents of each dollar goes to make the race possible. The other 89 percent goes to patient support and navigation. Cowle said this covers gas cards to get patients to treatment, scholarships for college and funding for Ulman’s patient navigation programs, which offers a combination of assistance programs. 

“I think some people think that the money is going to me, but I can assure you that it isn’t,” Cowle said. 

Cowle and her team will travel more than 4,000 miles in 49 days. The run is relay style, so Cowle will log eight to 12 miles every day for a total of about 450 miles during the course of 49 days. 

All housing and food for the journey is donation-based. Cowle will spend most nights on the floors of high schools, churches, gyms or with various host families. She will eat donated food from restaurants such as McAlister’s Deli, Whole Foods and a variety of pizza joints. 

“They told me to expect to eat pizza like five days a week, which I’m not used to, but I think I could get used to it,” Cowle said.

Every fifth day is a rest day, which Cowle will spend in hospitals or treatment centers interacting with cancer patients, handing out care packages with messages, crafts, blankets and other items to help keep the patients occupied during chemotherapy. 

Cowle is most excited about being involved in the scholarships the Ulman Fund will give patients, some who don’t even think college is a possibility. She is a member of the scholarship selection committee, so she will help to choose the students who will receive academic scholarships from the Ulman Fund. 

“We [at Tulane] value our education so much and being able to give that to somebody else, I think that’s going to be the most meaningful for me,” Cowle said. 

A student herself, Cowle personally relates to the patients that she will be interacting with. 

“I can’t personally imagine being my age now and having to pay for [treatment] like that,” Cowle said. 

The 30 people she will be traveling with are all between the ages of 18-26, the same age as the young adults that the Ulman Fund focuses on. Cowle has the highest fundraising goal of all of the participants and has raised the most money so far.

The team members have not met face-to-face yet, but they already support each other through social networks like Facebook and GroupMe.

“We’re all really excited to meet each other,” Cowle said. 

Cowle said she has been moved by Tulane’s support and her friends’ contributions.

“They know how much this means to me, [and it] has brought me so close to tears every time.”

One such friend is fellow Tulane alumna Anne Goodwyn. 

“She’s done a good job of empowering those negative emotions and putting them into a great cause,” Goodwyn said. “She can’t go back and change her situation, but she’s done her best to focus on the lives of other people who are going through the same thing that she also had to face.”


To donate to Liz Cowle’s 4k For Cancer fundraising efforts, please visit or click here.