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St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend

Team Ivan the Great

Letter From Parents Ashley & John


June 17th 2019. Our lives changed forever. Ivan was a normal two year old little boy and we began the start of an unforgettable summer. Our son fell ill over the weekend. This wasn’t common and something didn’t feel right. Trusting our instinct, we called his pediatrician. She told us to get to the emergency room to receive a head CT. And boom. Just like that, the world stopped. They found a malignant brain tumor known as Medulloblastoma. Ivan’s father and I heard nothing else after the words were spoke. Fear for our sons future hit us like a ton of bricks.


Unbelievable. Never in a million years would you believe as a parent that your child would have cancer. But we had hope....a hospital that was willing to save our sons life and all free of charge. The weight of  the cost for scans, chemotherapy, transfusions, hospital stays, medicines, supplies, food..etc. was lifted off of our shoulders. We got to spend all of our time making sure Ivan was comfortable and as happy as possible during his treatment. For 9 exhausting months, our son had to endure what no child should and we were by his side the entire way. 


There was a time when we didn’t think we would make it a year. Yet here we are with a healthy 3 year old. He’s happy and free to be a typical little boy. We just had his 3 month scans off treatment and they were all clear. St. Jude gave us that hope we needed. From the time we stepped foot on campus, we were treated as family. When the unknown crept in our minds, they were there to ease our worries. You walk in and are flooded with smiles and positivity. As hard as it is being away home, they make your time there as great as possible. With an estimated 70 bags of high dose chemo, 200 plus transfusions of blood and platelets, 300 bags of fluids, 100 plus nights in the  hospital, 6 sedated MRI scans, medications, supplies, ect...I’d say we probably would’ve owed $1 million dollars minimum in medical bills if we didn’t have St. Jude in our corner. Ivan gets the chance to grow up and we will never be able to repay them...not in a million lifetimes. We love St. Jude from the depths of our soul. 


Growing up in Memphis, you learn exactly what St. Jude Children’s research hospital stands for...hope. Their hospital has pushed the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to 80% in 50 years! 


This is why we made a family team for Ivan! We need you to sign up to join Team Ivan the Great to help give back to a foundation that has given us so much hope. There are many available races that include a 5k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon. You can walk almost any one of the races (but maybe focus on 5k). If you’re unsure about training, Ross has done this for 8 years and will setup regimes as well as have sponsor some runs to get anyone ready that wants to join. 


If you can’t walk/run, we still need your help! Donations are crucial to our $10k goal for Team Ivan the Great. We encourage you to donate to help all of the other Ivan the Great’s out there and as a way to say thank you for the past years journey.  


We need your help and we look forward to your support of Team Ivan the Great! Thank you!


Ashley, John, Ivan & Toby

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