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Devin D. Thorpe

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Boston Marathon Runner Partners with DKMS in Honor of Late Father Who Battled Leukemia

San Diego Native Shelby Sims Seeks to Help DKMS Register More Potential Bone Marrow Donors

Press Release – New York (April 10, 2017) — Shelby Sims is running the Boston Marathon April 17 for two very good reasons. She hopes to finish, a goal she shares with everyone who will toe the line in Hopkinton, as her father did in 1994. She is also looking to raise awareness for DKMS, the international non-profit leading the fight against blood cancers like CLL (chronic lymphocytic leukemia), the disease that took her father’s life.

Shelby’s father, Robert Sims, a former football player originally from Edina, MN, lost his battle with CLL in 2015, and Shelby pledged to continue his fight.

“As an All-American athlete, my Dad was blessed with many years of health and ability to take care of himself proactively,” said Sims. “Cancer, for him, was an ‘insurmountable opponent’ with a lot of unknowns. For nearly a decade, he meticulously worked to piece together a cure.”

#SIMSTRONG is a campaign which focuses on showing support to families who have lost a loved one due to cancer and to those who are currently fighting cancer. It is also the name of the short film helping to share her father’s story and to connect with thousands of people across the nation. Written & directed by HeyJune Jeon, #SIMSTRONG encapsulates the bond of a father-daughter relationship rooted in fighting spirit. The short film has triggered responses from thousands, who in their own lives, related to the cause.

#SIMSTRONG – Boston Marathon April 2017 from HeyJune on Vimeo.

Sims is also using this platform to encourage individuals to swab their cheeks to register as potential bone marrow/blood stem cell donors with DKMS to help the thousands of blood cancers patients that are in need of a lifesaving transplant. Interested individuals can log on to to start their own lifesaving journey as a potential donor.

“Knowing that I could potentially be that exact ‘piece’ to someone else’s puzzle, collaborating with DKMS was a no-brainer,” Sims said. “As someone who fits the demographic profile, I realize that I can be a strong voice for the many others who unknowingly fit the mold too.”

“We are proud to have Shelby Sims on our team,” said Jaclinn Tanney, DKMS Chief Development Officer. “DKMS hopes to provide a world with more blood cancer survivors, and that starts with registering as many people as we can, increasing the chance of finding a match for every patient in need.”

With everything on her plate, Sims is most excited to make her way from Hopkinton, through the challenges of Heartbreak Hill to the finish line on Patriots’ Day morning.

“The coolest part of a marathon isn’t the iconic number 26.2, but the thousands of reasons that have driven people to conquer such distance,” she added. “For me, it’s the chance to retrace my Dad’s footsteps from New England Route 135 to 16, ending in Copley Square – better known as The Boston Marathon.”

About DKMS

DKMS is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating blood cancers like leukemia and other blood-related illnesses inspiring both men and women around the world to register as bone marrow and blood stem cell donors. DKMS is providing patients with a second chance at life, working closely with families from diagnosis to transplant and beyond. The donor journey begins with a swab of the cheek that takes less than 60 seconds and can be the action that leads to a lifesaving transplant. DKMS, originally founded in Germany in 1991 by Dr. Peter Harf, has organizations in Poland, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. The U.S. office was started in 2004 and has registered over 850,000 people. To join the fight against blood cancer or for more information, please go to

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