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King University News :: King Students Join the Fight Against Cancer during the Bristol Half & Half Marathon

Dr. Han Chuan Ong, associate professor of Biology for King University, along with his Ecology of Plants students and members of the Alpha Phi Omega, King’s chapter of the national coeducational service fraternity, served as course marshals for the inaugural Bristol Half Half race on April 13.  

The Bristol Half Half provided participants the opportunity to join the fight against cancer with the American Cancer Society.  Runners had the unique opportunity to run in one city through two states for one great cause – fighting cancer.

Many of Dr. Ong’s students have either taken or will take a course in genetics during fall term.  “I like to have a social justice component in my classes, whereby not only are students learning about things in class, but they are doing something relevant in their community,” said Ong.  “Many of the race participants are either cancer survivors or know someone who has fought cancer.  Our students served not only as course marshals throughout the race but also cheered on the participants.  Going through cancer therapy can be likened to running a marathon; the last few miles are often the most difficult.” 

The marathon course was 13.1 miles in length, beginning at Virginia High School, winding back and forth from Virginia to Tennessee throughout the city of Bristol.  Runners crossed the finish line at the historic Stone Castle at Tennessee High School.  

“A significant part of genetics is studying the biology of cancer and how cancer happens,” said Ong.  “It can be easy to lose the human component when studying the minute details behind cancer or other diseases.  It is important for students to bear in mind these diseases are happening to real people.  One way for students to maintain a balance between the science and the human component is to participate in events like the American Cancer Society’s Bristol Half Half marathon.  The goal is to see the face of cancer, to understand the human factor, not just learn the theoretical science behind it.  The science you learn truly impacts people around you.  This race ties in well with our genetics courses and King’s focus on global citizenship.” 

To learn more about the American Cancer Society, visit


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