Franklin 4 The Cure is Saturday
By Carole Robinson, Senior Staff Writer
September is Children’s Cancer Awareness month and the public is invited to Westhaven Saturday, Sept. 14 for a daylong celebration that begins at 7:30 a.m. with the annual Franklin 4 The Cure 5K run/walk
About 600 runners and walkers are expected to participate in the 5K and the Kids 1K run/walk, which starts at 8:15 a.m. A Pancake Breakfast will follow the races.
Later in the day, at 6:30 p.m. on the Great Lawn of the Westhaven Residents Club, the Concert 4 The Cure will begin starring Hall of Fame singer/songwriter Jeffery Steele.
The festivities celebrate childhood cancer survivors and remember those brave youngsters who lost their battle.
To register for the run, make a donation or purchase tickets for the concert, go to www.franklinforthecure.org.
This year’s goal is to raise $100,000 for cancer research at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Race registration is $35 prior to race day and $40 on race day. Concert tickets are $100 for VIP seats, which include dinner. General admission is $25 for adults and $15 for children age 12 and under.
The 5K run, jog or walk is certified and takes participants on a pleasant tour of the Westhaven community.
The annual event began eight years ago with the Concert 4 The Cure, an event organized by the four Stacey Brothers and their families to honor their mother, who lost her 12-year battle with breast cancer.
Several years later, when the brothers learned of seven-year old Lily Hensiek’s battle with leukemia and four-year old Cooper Erby’s battle with brain cancer, they agreed to combine the events and put their efforts into fighting children’s cancer, “because their mother would have wanted to help children,” said Larisa Hensiek, Lily’s mom.
Lily Hensiek was diagnosed with leukemia in December 2008.
“When Lily was in the hospital initially we were talking,” Larisa said. “She was asking, ‘Am I going to die?’ and ‘Am I going to loose my hair?’”
Lily was old enough to understand the dangers and her pending two and a half-year battle was not going to be pleasant.
To change the subject, Larisa said, “Let’s do something about it to help other kids.”
That something was to raise money for childhood cancer research. Lily set a goal to raise $1,000 and her mom posted their plan on her CaringBridge page. By the next September, Larisa was very involved with Franklin 4 The Cure, and she continues to raise funds with her team—Lily’s Garden.
Lilly’s doctor was the inspiration for the name.
“He told her cancer is like a weed that takes your garden – her body – and doctors use a weed killer – chemotherapy – to get rid of the weeds,” Larisa said. “We only let lilies grow in Lily’s garden.”
Earlier that same year, then four-year old Cooper Erby was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor. Cooper is now nine.
Lily, 12, now attends Hillsboro Middle School and after two and half years of treatments, she will celebrate five years cancer-free in December.
“I am still doing research,” Larisa said. “There are a lot of side affects [from the treatments] that most people don’t know about. While she was going through treatment we were just trying to go through and keep her alive. Then when you get to the other side you find it too is a pretty significant side with all the affects to deal with.”
Bone issues, learning issues, “chemo-brain” and more.
One of 34 teams registered, Team Lily’s Garden not only raises money, but also they raise awareness, Larisa said.
“That’s huge. Spreading the word about what’s going on is pretty significant.”
While Lily’s Garden runs for a survivor, Team Sadie runs in memory of a toddler who lost her battle with leukemia in 2012, just 40 days after her diagnosis. Amy Law formed the team in honor of her cousin’s 17-month old daughter Sadie.
“I have always been involved on the periphery but watching my cousin and her family walk through this, I plugged into this in a bigger way.”
Team Sadie’s 11 members have raised $1,890 so far, putting them in second place for fund raising, but according to Amy, the plan is to push into first place.
“You can’t find someone who hasn’t been affected by cancer and its challenges,” Amy said.
Posted on: 9/11/2013