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The Daily Wildcat

 

Charity run held in honor of deceased UA student athlete

Goofy, sweet, genuine and loving: These are a few words the friends and family of Lezo Urreiztieta used to describe him.

Positive words like these were written across the backs of nearly 400 people as they participated in a charity 5K run on Sunday to honor Lezo Urreiztieta’s memory. The Arizona hurdler died on Dec. 20, 2013, following complications from brain surgery.

“His death is very prevalent on campus,” said Ben Malisewski, a business senior who helped organize Sunday’s event. Malisewski is a friend of Urreiztieta’s older brother, Gaizka Urreiztieta, and said he wanted to help raise money for the scholarship the Urreiztieta family is creating in Lezo Urreiztieta’s honor.

The 365 participants had already signed up online before Sunday’s event, which required a $15 donation to the family’s scholarship fund. Participants received a free T-shirt, bracelet and button with a picture of Lezo Urreiztieta stamped on the front.

At the time of registration, participants were asked to submit a few words they would use to describe Lezo Urreiztieta. The submissions were conglomerated together into a word cloud and then printed on the back of the T-shirts.

“If I was going to see him, I knew I was going to laugh that day,” said Kayleigh Orozco, a physiology senior. Orozco works with the Arizona track and field team, of which Lezo Urreiztieta was a prominent member.

“They’re a family; they’re a unit,” said Orozco, wiping away a tear, “so they [the track team] are going to help each other through this.”

The Lezo Urreiztieta Scholarship Fund will be awarded to a student-athlete who displays a commitment to their studies in the same spirit as Lezo Urreiztieta, who had ambitions of becoming a reconstructive plastic surgeon. Sunday’s event hoped to raise about $3,500 for the scholarship.

The crop of runners and walkers were a mix of people who knew Lezo Urreiztieta, as well as many current and former students of Canyon Del Oro High School, where Lezo Urreiztieta graduated from in 2011. All were present to pay tribute to the former UA student.

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