Harrisburg race aims to end childhood cancer

catie-in-the-target-craft-room-painting-sunsets-to-remind-her-of-home

On June 17, 2008, Kevin O’Brien and his family received some heartbreaking news. His then 7-year-old daughter, Catie, was diagnosed with a spinal tumor.

The tumor was rare and had to be treated with radiation to the entire brain-spinal column.

Catie and her siblings at the Target House for Halloween, 2008.
Catie and her siblings at the Target House for Halloween, 2008.

Catie underwent treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee. A long way from her brothers and sisters in Mechanicsburg.

She underwent 31 radiation treatments, as well as high-dose chemotherapy but eventually, the tumor returned.

Catie returned home in December 2008 and passed away the following January. But her life and spirit lives on in the Catie’s Wish Foundation.

While Catie didn’t make it to her eighth birthday, she wanted her birthday to be special. It was Catie’s wish to raise enough funds each year to cover the entire operating expenses of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

So her family does.

It is a daunting task. In 2009, when Catie passed, the operating costs of St. Jude were $1.4 million for just the day. Now, in 2016, those costs are up to $2.2 million.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital provides care for families, like Catie’s, at no cost. Families never receive a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food.

The hospital also uses funds raised for research labs. St. Jude has invented research that has helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since the hospital opened in 1962.

The goal of the hospital is to continue researching new treatments until no child dies from cancer.

The $2.2 million/day cost to run St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is primarily covered by public contributions.

One of the major fundraising events is the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer.

This Saturday, Harrisburg will host one of 61 walks happening across the country. So far, the Central PA walk has raised $55,996 of the $65,000 goal.

If you want to join the walk, there is still time just visit this link.

Walkers can register or check-in the day of the event, beginning at 7:30 a.m. on City Island. The opening ceremony then begins at 9 a.m. with the walk/run starting at 9:30.

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