Canary Islands man runs 180 miles in Alaska to raise awareness for Leukemia

 Despite minor navigational setbacks, Yanez says the run was a success.
Despite minor navigational setbacks, Yanez says the run was a success. (KTUU)
Published: Jun. 12, 2018 at 4:24 PM AKDT
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A man from Spain's Canary Islands traveled to Alaska to raise awareness of the daily battles facing Leukemia and blood cancer patients.

Marcos Yanez has run across the world to spread his message in the fight against Leukemia. He has searched for cancer survivors willing to tell their stories and participate in the cause.

Christy Youngblood, who lives in Anchorage, was diagnosed with Lymphoma in 2016. She was so sick she could barely walk. But chemotherapy got her back in the game.

“It feels amazing. Before cancer, I was a marathon runner,” Youngblood said. “Going through all that -- not being able to walk in the hospital, to be able to run a mile let alone 30 miles… it feels amazing."

Yanez heard about her story from overseas, and sent her a Facebook message asking her to join him in the fight against Leukemia.

“I felt an idea to spread again the message… and I thought Alaska,” Yanez said. “My main inspiration was Christy's story as a cancer survivor, and that's the reason I am here."

Yanez lost his father to Leukemia in 2014, a tragedy that motivated him to get more donors on the bone marrow registry. He ran over 180 miles from Eklutna lake to Denali National Park to raise awareness.

Youngblood ran the final 30 miles at his side.

"It was such a special moment for me,” Youngblood said. “I'm thankful for Markos for finding me and letting me share in his experience. He's so inspiring. It just makes my heart happy to have met him."

"I think there was ten miles left," Yanez said. "I say to Christy, 'Christy, I think my father and your mom is so glad to spread our message'."

Joining is as easy as a swab to the mouth, and one Alaskan was moved so much by these stories that he joined right away.

"It's something I had never really thought about doing until meeting Christy and Eric and hearing their story,” bone marrow register member Andrew Fisher said. "I think the fact that he wanted to come to AK from the Canary Islands in a place he's totally unfamiliar with… it's invigorating and it's encouraging."

To learn more about the bone marrow registry, click