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Sept

Childhood Cancer
Awareness Month

Portland, Ore., rallies around walk/run with St. Jude patient family connection

 

As enthused as they were to launch the Portland, Ore., St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer, which will take place on Sept. 22, patient parents Courtney and Jason still harbored some doubts.

How much interest would a fundraiser generate in a city located more than 2,200 miles from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis? Were people in their community familiar enough with St. Jude and its mission to want to participate?

Turns out, their worries were unfounded.

“We kind of hit the ground running, and we’ve had a huge amount of support,” said Courtney, who co-chairs the inaugural Portland event with her husband.

So much support has poured forth, in fact, that the group easily met an initial fundraising goal of $75,000 and raised its target to $100,000. The number of participants, previously projected at 500, now appears likely to approach 1,000.

 
 

Portland is just one of 65 St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer events conducted across the nation during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September (there is also a virtual event).  Held in 31 states and the District of Columbia, the event raises money and awareness for St. Jude and its mission of finding cures for childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Courtney and Jason took on the job of organizing a walk/run largely out of devotion to the hospital forged during the treatment of their daughter, Macey.

Now 10, Macey was diagnosed four years ago with a rare type of brain tumor called craniopharyngioma, undergoing initial treatment in Portland and getting sent to St. Jude following a relapse 18 months later.  She received proton therapy in Jacksonville, Fla., just prior to the December 2015 opening of the proton therapy center at St. Jude, and the tumor has been stabilized.

"Macey suffers side effects, including the loss of most of her vision, but St. Jude has conducted cutting-edge research exploring ways to deal with them," Courtney said. She returns for checkups every six months.

Despite her initial concerns about the walk/run, Courtney believed the community has embraced the St. Jude event.

“It’s been an easy sell. They see what (St. Jude) has done for our daughter and how it’s affected our lives,” she said.

 
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September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Let's end childhood cancer. Together.

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