June 10, 1996
Media Contact: John Cramer
Phone: (410) 955-1534

Although he will run only about a half-mile in the Olympic torch relay this summer, Johns Hopkins neurosurgery research fellow Chris Gibbons, M.D., is taking no chances. Already in top shape, he is jogging a little extra each week. "It's a very short distance, but I want to be sure it goes smoothly," Gibbons says, smiling.

An estimated 10,000 runners, including Gibbons and more than 100 other Marylanders, are carrying the Olympic torch across the United States to Atlanta, the site of the 1996 Summer Games. The torch was lit in Olympia, Greece, and arrived in Los Angeles April 27. It will be carried through 42 states in 84 days. The relay will pass through Maryland June 19 and 20. The opening ceremony in Atlanta is July 19. Gibbons is among 5,500 "community heroes" selected by United Way to participate in the relay because of their volunteer activities, accomplishments and leadership roles.

"I thank God for the opportunity," says Gibbons, who researches the molecular genetics of brain tumors and serves as a volunteer mentor at homeless shelters, elementary schools and churches. He and his wife, Gail, founded The U-Turn Foundation, which helps inner-city families move from "welfare dependency to independency" through job training and health education. "I'm humbled and honored that some people in the community think I'm worthy of this, and I'm grateful if my life sets an example for children."

To interview Gibbons, call me at (410) 955-1534.

-- JHMI --
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