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A 26-year-old man from New York, is asking strangers, his family and friends, to “step out of their comfort zones” and join what he calls the 50/31 challenge – a month-long fitness and fundraising event which raises money for the National Brain Tumor Society.
“When I was 10-years-old, I lost my dad to brain cancer,” Brian Lewis, a resident of New York, New York, told Fox News Digital.
“I thought this would be a good opportunity to kind of give back and do something good.”
Lewis started the challenge in 2020 by encouraging loved ones to run 50 miles in a span of 31 days.
Since then the challenge grew into something greater, by raising support during the month of May, which is Brain Cancer Awareness Month.
This May in 2023, Lewis has so far raised $12,251 through 50/31 challenge participants. The goal is $50,000.
“In 2021 [I] thought it would be a good idea to open it up to the public and rally people together for a good cause and get people moving,” Lewis said.
Lewis saw over 600 individuals join the cause in 2022. The participant count for 2023 has swelled to 1,052 and is still growing.
“Tying it to a good cause is a way that everybody can get involved in a community event…and create awareness for something that means a lot to a lot of people I’ve met,” Lewis commented.
When people push their limits, they are able to see how capable they truly can be, he added.
“My goal is that people start to see what they are really capable of when people come together and start making a difference,” Lewis said.
Lewis is joined by his friends and his family for the challenge who also recognize the importance of being active and spreading awareness.
Christian Spagnuola, a close friend of Lewis’, has been a part of the challenge for three years and continuously finds himself returning to it.
“I had a cousin that was born with a brain tumor, so I run for Brian [Lewis], I run for her and I run for my family,” Spagnuola told Fox News Digital.
“Even when I’m at mile 40, and I feel like I can’t go any longer, I push through because I know what she struggled through and the perseverance she showed at such a young age,” Spagnuola added.
While participants can walk the 50 miles instead of running, Lewis does encourage those who participate to test their strength.
“It’s not an outlandish goal. It’s challenging, definitely, but it’s feasible. Just push yourself,” Lewis said.
While the challenge encourages staying active for a good cause, Lewis, along with his older sister Amy, reminds others to run in memory of their father Marc Lewis.
Lewis said their father enjoyed “mowing the lawn,” “spending time with family” and “being a dad.”
Marc Lewis fought brain cancer for six months and 29 days before his passing on May 17, 2007.
“I think [my dad] would say, ‘Good job.’ “I think he’d be very proud.”
Amy Lewis, a self-proclaimed “Daddy’s girl,” was just 15 when her dad died.
She said she remembers him as being “the life of the party” and how there was a “huge void” in their family after his death.
“I’m beyond proud of Brian for creating this challenge. It’s amazing to see his creative spirit come to life [by] pairing together his love for fitness, sports and activities, while honoring our dad in this way,” Amy Lewis told Fox News Digital.
Lewis’ mom, who has had two hip replacements, participates in the challenge in spite of extra difficulty that may come with the 50-mile goal.
“I am so proud of Brian for carrying on his father’s memory with the 50/31 challenge, and collaborating with the National Brain Tumor Society to help other who are also dealing with this dreadful disease,” Joan Lewis, Lewis’ mother, told Fox News Digital.
Lewis’ family and friends agree that the 50/31 challenge is worth pushing yourself just a little bit harder for one month out of the year.
“[Those with cancer] are really going through the struggles and the hardships of life and for us to run and raise money for a great cause, that’s the reason I get up every May and run 50 miles for the 50/31 challenge,” Jordan Deitch, a 50/31 challenge veteran and friend of Lewis’, shared with Fox News Digital.
In total, Lewis has raised nearly $68,000 for the National Brain Tumor Society.
If you’d like to join the 50/31 challenge, visit: https://linktr.ee/fiftythirtyone
You can also find the link on the fiftythirtyone instagram page and download the Nike Run Club app.
“Don’t be scared. Step outside your comfort zone. Sign up and get it done. No excuses,” Lewis said in his message to hopeful participants.
“I think [my dad] would say, ‘Good job,’” Lewis added. “I think he’d be very proud.”