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Cancer battle inspires marathon dreams

Being able to run through Cinderella's castle is just one reason Tamara Hanley, a seventh- and eighth-grade teacher at Lisha Kill Elementary School, is running a 26-mile race in January.

The other reason is a matter of the heart.

Last year, Hanley said, she was inspired by a student named Hunter Calber, who had leukemia and is now in remission.

He's just an amazing student, Hanley said. "He constantly made me think how blessed I am to have four healthy kids."

Hanley said Hunter's parents, Sharon and Jeff Calber of Niskayuna, have been very active in their son's education, and meeting with his mother often reinforced Hanley's feelings of gratefulness.

"We met with his mother at the end of the year, just an end-of-the-year meeting, and I always swell up thinking what if he hadn't been here," Hanley said.

According to Sharon Calber, Hunter was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia when he was 5 years old. Now 13, she said her son has been in remission for the past eight years.

"I think it's great. I'm glad that he inspired her," said Calber. "Every day he comes into class with a smile on his face."

When asked what Hunter thought of having his name, and possibly his photo, used by Hanley at the race on Jan. 11, Calber said, "He's used to it because he's been on a billboard for a couple years."

In addition, Calber said Hunter takes part in a performance at Proctors every year called Melodies of Christmas.

The race Hanley is running in is sponsored by The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training, a training program that provides training in walking and running specifically for marathons. According to Hanley, this year, Team in Training is celebrating its 20th anniversary since it first began in 1988.

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