Cancer sucks….but cancer in children is probably the worst. This is the story of an amazing little girl named Caroline. Please donate!
In college I became friends with an amazing girl named Erin. She is probably one of the sweetest people I know and goes out of her way for other people more than even me! (which is saying a lot)
I remember in college when her sister was in labor she didn’t have a car and she sat outside my sister’s room crying because she didn’t want to wake her up to ask her to take her back to Philly so she could be there. We yelled at her for waiting so long and rushed there and she made it! She will do anything for her family, especially her nieces and nephews.
Last October I got a text message from Erin to let me know that her youngest niece Caroline was in the hospital. The day before she had stopped breathing and her mom (who is a nurse) gave her CPR and then rushed her to the hospital. The reason she stopped breathing was because of a cancerous tumor in her neck. She was diagnose with Neuroblastoma at just 6 months old. For the next 5 weeks she was in PICU at CHOP in Philadelphia and then for the following 6 months she received outpatient chemotherapy. She couldn’t be around most people, for fear that she would get sick. She received her last round of chemotherapy the week of her first birthday. I am happy to say that after 7 long months of battle Caroline BEAT cancer!
Last November my friend Erin wanted to DO something for Caroline. She felt helpless. While researching the cancer she came across Alex’s Lemonade Stand. A little girl named Alexandra Scott was also diagnosed with Neuroblastoma before her first birthday. The day after her 4th birthday she received a stem cell transplant and told her mom “when I get out of the hospital I want to have a lemonade stand.” She said she wanted to give the money to doctors to allow them to “help other kids, like they helped me.” True to her word, she held her first lemonade stand later that year with the help of her older brother and raised an amazing $2,000 for “her hospital.” Sadly in August 2004 Alex passed away at the age of 8. With the help of others who were inspired by her story, she raised more than $1 million to help fund the cure for the disease that took her life. Alex was also from Philadelphia.
Last year Erin and a team of friends and family participated in the Lemon Run for Caroline, who was still in the hospital. Their team raised the 3rd most amount of money. Last year I was unable to go, but I made sure I could attend this year and it seriously was an amazing experience.
We got to the event around 8:00am (just as the kids races were starting) and it was a little bit of mass hysteria. Erin’s family is HUGE and because her and her family are just so awesome, they also have a lot of friends. Over 140 showed up just on Caroline’s Stars!
Caroline is just one of hundreds of kids diagnosed with childhood cancer. She was able to meet a bunch of other kids just like her.
The Lemon Run is a 5K run/walk. The runners start first, and then the walkers. The course is beautiful in Fairmont Park in Philadelphia. Cheryl and I ran the race (a pre-cursor to our 11 miles we had to run for training).
I have met a lot of Erin’s family and friends over the years, and even though I don’t know each one by name they know Cheryl and I as the twins. They cheered us on as we crossed the finish and then we went to wait for everyone else and cheer them on.
Erin walked with her sister-in-law and Caroline (and a lot of other family and friends) during the event. It is remarkable that just a year before this amazing little girl was in a hospital bed battling cancer. The whole thing was pretty emotional and I had to turn away from Erin’s mom as they passed by because she was crying and I was tearing up!
Caroline even crossed the finish line all by herself!
I can’t imagine being diagnosed with cancer as an adult, but being a parent and having your child endure that at such a young age is unimaginable. Caroline’s parents are amazing and Caroline is such an inspiration! After the event Alex’s parents talked to everyone about Alex and how overwhelmed they were with all the support they have received and the amount of money these events have made. I could no longer hold back the tears. All of these kids are superheros.
After the run Cheryl and I were planning on heading over to the Schuylkill to do 8 more miles to train for our upcoming Philadelphia Marathon. We said to each other….why don’t we do the marathon for Caroline? So we grabbed some ALS tech shirts to wear the day of the race and even though I solicited for people to donate for the Lemon Run I now want to see if they can raise even more money! Donations are not over until November 20th! Please DONATE what you can. No one fights alone.