Reaching Out

Kids Race Against Cancer

This weekend was the fifth annual Kids Race Against Cancer.  My oldest daughter, Haley, founded the race five years ago, at the ripe old age of eight, to fulfill a service requirement for a church youth program.  I had just run my first 5K, and she knew that the funds raised for that race went to charity.  So, when her booklet suggested to “plan and complete your own activity to serve others,” she immediately announced, “I’m gonna plan a race for kids to raise money for cancer research!”

My husband and I (who knew full well who would have to get the ball rolling with that idea) gave her lots of other, simpler suggestions: You could do your sister’s chores!  You could take some cookies to a neighbor!  You could send a card to your grandparents!  But no amount of exclamation points would sway her.  And, five years later, we’re still doing it. But, thankfully, she’s leading the planning and organizing now.  I’m mostly just the driver.  And I buy stuff.

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This year, our family lost two friends to cancer–Nathan Colgrove, a husband and father of five who had fought pancreatic cancer for three years; and Cody Hernandez, who was almost 14 and didn’t even realize he had lymphoma until he was rushed to the hospital, where he died just a few days later.  The race was held in their memory, and all donations are going to charities of the families’ choice.  Cody’s family chose The Children’s Cancer Research Fund.  Nathan’s family decided to share the donations between Pancan.org and American Refugee Committee (ARC) “for those in greater need than us,” as Nathan’s wife, Lori, said.

This was by far the highest attendance for the race.  Generally, friends from the neighborhood have come, with about 15 kids or so running.  This year, there were over forty kids and nearly as many adults.  Almost $600 was raised so far, with a number of people sending Haley additional donations this week.  Now, I used to work in fundraising for a living, so I know that might not seem like much money to some of you, but for a 12-year-old girl to raise $600 in one day, that is nothing short of AMAZING.

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Haley welcomes the crowd before the balloon launch in memory of Nathan and Cody

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In addition to Haley’s friends, the larger community was also incredibly supportive.  There were a number of teachers who had brought their children to run, and two of our local “princesses” even volunteered to help out–they cheered on the runners and held the finish line ribbon!  I am so grateful to live in such a close-knit, supportive area, with people who teach their children the importance of helping others.

 

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The top three runners of the little kids’ race were honored by the Junior Misses

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The top three finishers of the main race

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Cody’s family: Angel, Samantha, dad Paul, mom Alesha, and Haley Hernandez

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Nathan’s wife, Lori, and his two youngest kids, Jemma and Josh Colgrove

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What about you?  How do you teach your kids about serving others?  Big or small, there are so many things we can do every day to teach kids values.  We just need to be open to them when they come our way.

 

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7 Comments

  • Reply
    Allison T.
    October 18, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    Please tell Haley how proud I am of her and how much this means to those who have loved ones that have been affected by Cancer!! Scott just lost his baby sister due to Breast Cancer, she was only 35 and left three little boys. It is always such a pleasure to read this blog every morning and enjoy all of these inspiring and uplifting stories; it’s a great way to start the day!

    • Reply
      Laura
      October 18, 2016 at 6:55 pm

      Thank you, Allison! I’m so sorry to hear about Scott’s sister. My friend died of breast cancer a few years ago, leaving behind a similar family situation. My prayers are with them all.

  • Reply
    Lillian Soza
    October 18, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    I didn’t know that she founded the run! That’s so cool!

    • Reply
      Laura
      October 18, 2016 at 6:53 pm

      Yes! We’re really proud of her. She sets a great example for our family.

  • Reply
    Melessa
    October 18, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    It was such a beautiful day and everyone around was relaxed and just having a great time. My Sam was happy to be there too and support the race.

  • Reply
    Denise
    October 22, 2016 at 3:46 am

    Much love to Haley. Thank you for your sweet service.

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