September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. This year, supporters in 58 communities nationwide will lace up their sneakers to participate in the inaugural St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer to raise funds and awareness for the hospital.
About 3,000 children and adolescents in the U.S. will be diagnosed this year with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common form of childhood cancer. Treatment plans for this type of blood cancer usually include two-and-a-half years of chemotherapy. Side effects include hair loss, nausea, fatigue and an increased risk of infections.
Two of these teenagers are Nicholas, a 15-year-old star basketball player, and Keandra, a 16-year-old ballet, tap, jazz and hip hop dance aficionado.
Nicholas and Keandra have refused to allow their diagnosis of ALL to define their high school years and are taking up the challenge to help defeat childhood cancer – not just for themselves, but for children worldwide. Together, along with their families and friends, the teenagers formed a team to participate in their local St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer and give back to the hospital responsible for saving their lives.
“Raising money for St. Jude has become a passionate venture for our entire family,” said Tangela, Nicholas’ mother. “Our family has seen firsthand the treatment and care Nicholas is receiving. It takes a tremendous amount of money for St. Jude open its doors daily, and raising a few dollars is the least we can do.”
Keandra’s family is also dedicated to spreading awareness for St. Jude.
“We have insurance, but even so, the cost we would have incurred would be unbelievable,” said Lois, Keandra’s mother. “A lot of people don’t have insurance and wouldn’t stand a chance. (Forming a team) is just our way of giving back. It’s the least we can do.”
The majority of St. Jude funding comes from individual contributors, and thanks to generous donors who support events like the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer, St. Jude has the freedom to focus on what matters most – saving kids regardless of their financial situation.
“St. Jude is a blessing to us and we want to give back,” Lois said. “We want to make sure St. Jude is always around.”
Join the fight on Sept. 19 or 26 in one of 58 communities across the country to help St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital reach the day when no child dies from cancer. Visit HERE to sign up as a St. Jude Hero for the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer.
(Photos: Nick with University of Memphis head coach Josh Pastner during the Hoops for St. Jude Classic, Keandra with golfer, Oscar Fraustro during the FedEx/St.Jude Classic)
Credit: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital