April in Atlanta means short sleeves, bursts of azaleas, a robin’s song, and pollen… lots and lots of pollen. April also means it is time for Lauren’s Run and CURE Annual Picnic. Nestled at the very end of the month, Lauren’s Run has become a can’t-miss family event for our community. It also brings out the competitive fire in some.
One of those competitors is Robert. This year’s Lauren’s Run will be Robert’s fifth. While he might seem unlikely to win the race, his team is the reigning champion in one very important category and he doesn’t intend to relinquish that honor without a fight.
Robert’s run with cancer started in 2010, when he was only six years old. His parents noticed that he was more tired than usual and when dark circles appeared under his eyes, they immediately took him to the doctor. Soon they were on their way to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta where they learned that Robert had leukemia. His treatment lasted three years and just as they finished, a spinal tap indicated that he had relapsed. Since that time, he hasn’t been able to outrun cancer. Whenever he beats it, the cancer seems to catch right back up to him. His treatment has taken him across the country a few times in a search for long-term success.
Throughout this whole journey of chemotherapy, spinal tabs, side effects, hospital stays, and family separation, Robert has shown amazing strength. He’s never complained and has dealt with every situation better than most adults would. His smile is big and his laughter infectious.
“Robert has taught us what is important in life and what really matters,” said his mother, Kasie. “This year Robert turned 13 and has officially been battling cancer longer than he has not.”
Last year, Robert and his Team Robert the Great won the coveted title of Top Fundraising Team with nearly $10,000. Just like in the picture, he was at the very center of the competition.
“He really wanted to win,” Kasie said with a laugh. “When other teams got close to our total, he would share a video of himself dancing and ask for more on Facebook. And people responded.”
Kasie doesn’t want Robert to know, but she shared her fundraising secrets with us.
“The key is to express the need. And to do that, you have to ask – face to face and by email, as well as on Facebook! People just don’t know how little is spent on childhood cancer research. But when you tell them, they almost always want to help.” she said. “CURE Childhood Cancer has been a big part of our lives since Robert’s first day at the hospital and we’re proud that the money Robert’s team raises for Lauren’s Run goes to fight cancers that affect kids.”
Robert’s team is already in first place for this year with over $5500 raised and he is working on his dance moves in case he falls behind.
Whether you want to join Robert or compete with him, we are all on the same team when it comes to fighting childhood cancer. By participating in Lauren’s Run, you’re taking a small step that can have a massive impact in the fight against childhood cancer. Won’t you join us?