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Mighty Broncos: Making a Difference

Whether you’re a serious athlete or a first-time swimmer, anyone can join Mighty Broncos, a team of Santa Clara University faculty, staff, friends, and family who train and compete together to raise money for cancer research. Every year, they compete in 5Ks, 10Ks, and even triathlons. Their biggest event took place Sept. 12-13, a time when most of the campus community was gearing up for the new academic year. The Mighty Broncos donned their wetsuits and laced their sneakers for the Pacific Grove Triathlon, which supports the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).

Amara Brook, psychology assistant professor, and her teammate from San Jose State University, took first place in the overall Olympic Relay and placed first in their class by over 10 minutes. Diane Barrera finished a strong sprint, placing second in her class. The other participants were:

Phyllis Brown (English)
Michelle Burnham (English)
Ron Danielson (Information Services)
Jonna Delgado (Human Resources)
Barbara Fraser (Dramaturgy, Directing, History, Theatre, and Dance)
Debbie Hirsch (EEO and Diversity)
Jill Pellettieri (Spanish and Modern Languages and Literature)
Jim Rowan (Information Technology)

The team raised over $8,000 for LLS this year. They say they participate in this annual event in honor of those who are battling blood cancers. This year’s honoree is Leslie Zenner, a 2007 Santa Clara alumna who suffers from non-Hodgkin lymphoma. She is still going through chemotherapy to fight the disease.

Mighty Broncos is looking for more faculty and staff to join the cause. They say even if you don’t know how to swim, you can still join the team. They say they do it, because it makes them feel good knowing that they could be helping to stop leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma from taking more lives. They also want to remind faculty and staff that it doesn’t take much to make a difference.

“Some people don’t want to donate $5—that’s a Starbucks! It makes you wonder who’s going to pay for all the medical research,” says Hirsch.

“I understand how everyone is going through tough economic times, but we’re just asking people to give-up one movie or a cup of coffee, because every dollar counts,” says Delagado.

If you’re interested in learning more about Mighty Broncos, contact Debbie Hirsch at 408-554-4113 or via e-mail at

Watch a slideshow of the Mighty Broncos at the Pacific Grove Triathlon.

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