By Timithie NORMAN
On Saturday, May 5, the We Can Pediatric Brain Tumor Network will host its second annual “Walk for We Can,” a fundraising run/walk at Crescenta Valley Park. All proceeds from the day will go directly to support the efforts of We Can, an organization dedicated to provide peer-to-peer support, expert information, and medical clinics for the parents of children diagnosed with brain tumors.
“The walk is in honor of National Brain Tumor Action Week, which is May 6 through May 12,” said Kathy Riley, executive director of We Can. “Last year we raised just over $5,000 and this year we hope to double that.”
With an expected attendance of about 80 people, the public event starts at 9 a.m. with 3K and 5K run/walks and a kids/grandparents fun run beginning at 10 a.m. sharp. The individual or team that raises the most money will receive a prize – four passes to Disneyland. All participants will take home a T-shirt from the event.
“There will be some crafts, face painting, and activities for the kids,” explained Riley. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Riley and Gigi McMillan co-founded We Can 16 years ago as a small group of about 12 parents who came together to support one another as they faced the challenges that accompanied their child’s brain tumor diagnosis.
“The need was great,” Riley said. “Families needed a very focused kind of support as pediatric brain tumors can leave long-term problems for the child and his or her family.”
We Can now serves hundreds of families in the foothills region and in medical centers throughout California with peer-to-peer support, family camps for parents and children coping with a brain tumor in the family, Spanish-language programs, bereavement resources and more. Most people find it shocking to learn, Riley said, that brain tumors are the leading cause of death by disease for children ages 1-14.
“We are trying to meet that need,” Riley said. “We stay with a family from diagnosis to long-term survivorship struggles like physical difficulties or mental disability, or end-of-life issues.”
The walk is one of We Can’s two annual fundraising events, but donations are accepted year-round through the organization’s website at www.wecan.cc. Individuals and teams interested in participating in Saturday’s event can also register online.