I'm back at it! 9 years running and there's no question as to my "WHY." Sophie Elizabeth Quayle is my WHY!
Sophie was my first niece and my Godchild. She came into this world in 2003, 4 years before I even had my first. And 4 years is all we had with Sophie. Zach was just 4 months old when Sophie died in October 2007. I can't even imagine losing a child, yet that is what my sister and her husband had to endure.
Sophie had a brainstem tumor, a DIPG, a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, which is one of the worst brain tumors a child can have. There is no real effective treatment and definitely no cure. Parents, like my sister and her husband, are told they have 9-12 months left with their precious child and there is really nothing they can do to change the prognosis.
Sophie lived for 7.5 months after she was diagnosed. She fought her battle bravely, enduring 6 weeks of radiation and chemo after becoming a patient at St Jude, just days after she was diagnosed. Although St Jude knows the treatment will not cure these kids, they hope to mitigate symptoms and give these families a little more time together.
St Jude is an amazing place and I was able to see them in action as I spent a week with Emily, Sophie, Sarah and my parents, during their 6-week stay. Every need is met for the child and the family as they make St Jude their home away from home, and as you know, families don't pay a dime. I've continued to witness how amazing St Jude is each year when we are able to tour the hospital prior to race day, and let me just tell you, it'll blow you away!
They have also been at the forefront of changing childhood cancer survival rates from 20% to more than 80% over the last 50 years.
Oh how I wish DIPG survival rates were among those that have changed, but sadly, there has not been one new treatment for DIPG in the last 20-30 years and the prognosis has not changed.
Yet, I believe that St Jude will play a critical role in one day finding that cure and a cure to all cancers, and until they do, they will continue to provide the life-saving treatment to so many kiddos out there who are fighting the battle of their lives.
So, I go back, year after year, in Sophie's memory and honor to support the place that supported her and my sister's family in 2007.
I would give anything to have Sophie back, but since I can't, I ask you to donate on my behalf as I train, to help save the lives of children currently fighting and those that will fight until a cure is found for all cancers.
Every dollar helps. These kids need us. They need to see their next birthday. They need to experience their first day of school. They need to go to prom. They need to graduate. They need to get married and have a family of their own. They need to live a full life, not one cut short by pediatric cancer.
Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today and please share with anybody who might also like to join in on this fight!