By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Many cancer patients are alive today because of research advancements. American Association for Cancer Research Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon is raising money for these breakthroughs that save lives and one runner is doing the race because of a special friendship.

“He’s a pretty special friend.” Jason Hall, a cancer patient, said. “It’s not often that you have someone literally running to help save your life. That’s literally what he’s doing.”

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Jim Kiley-Zufelt is running to raise money for cancer research, in hopes it will save Hall’s life.

Hall is the curator of the battleship USS New Jersey. And he’s also waging a fierce battle with brain cancer.

“What happened was I had seizure on ship; that’s how they discovered the tumor,” he said.

Kiley-Zufelt felt for his friend.

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“It was heartbreaking,” he said. “It was very shocking that he had this extremely rare form of cancer. So, I want to do something — anything.”

That anything is run in the American Association for Cancer Research Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon.

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“It’s absolutely a lifesaver,” Mitch Stroller, executive director at the AACR, said. “We like to say this run really matters.”

Stroller says money raised from the run will fund new cancer research.

He said the money raised goes “directly to young scientist to established scientists, and it goes really to funding breakthroughs and opportunities so we can move the needle forward.”

As the runners move around the course they’ll hear a variety of bands, which is why it’s called the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon.

“Just as you’re dragging a bit out there, you get these great sounds from local artists from all around Philadelphia,” Stroller said.

Kiley-Zufelt, who’s had thyroid cancer says he’s excited to run for cancer research and hopefully help his friend Hall.

Cancer research is everything and it’s…why I get out of bed.”

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The American Association for Cancer Research Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon is next Sunday, September 17, and on Saturday September 16, there will be 5 and 10-kilometer runs.

Stephanie Stahl