While most people are sleeping in on a Saturday morning, students from across the Valley will participate in a 5k walk to raise $25,000 for brain tumor research.
"I don’t want to wait until it happens to me to start caring," said Lastassia Eidson, a senior at Pinnacle High School in Phoenix and co-chairwoman of the Second Annual Brain Tumor Walk-a-Thon.
It’s a little known fact that brain tumors are the leading cause of cancer death among children. Last year more than 3,000 children were stricken.
Unlike leukemia and other diseases that kill children, there are few treatments available for brain tumors, according to Dr. Adrienne C. Scheck, a molecular biologist with the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix.
"What these kids are doing is just incredible," said Steve Westerhoff, a 15-year survivor who works as a liaison for the brain tumor support group at Barrow. "What these kids bring is hope."
More than 24 schools pledged to participate. But the kids, who have organized the effort on their own, are aiming for an even bigger turnout. They’re hoping schools from the East Valley will show up on March 8.
"It’s an important cause and definitely worth your time," said Jud Kilbourn, a student at Scottsdale’s Desert Mountain High School who will participate in the March 8 Walk-a-Thon. "It affects so many people’s lives. It’s something that with a lot of hard work may be cured someday."
Stephen Glassman, Pinnacle High School’s student government adviser, was the catalyst for Pinnacle’s efforts last year. He brought the issue to students’ attention and they responded by raising $7,000. But with success comes greater ambitions. The goal this year is to triple that amount and keep the momentum going for years to come.
"I don’t want to stop until there’s a cure," Glassman said. "Next year I want the entire state."
Walking for lives
What: Second Annual Brain Tumor Walk-a-Thon followed by a reception at the Scorch Bar at Desert Ridge Marketplace
When: 8 a.m. to noon March 8
Where: Pinnacle High School, 3535 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix Cost: $10 registration fee
Information: (480) 419-4516