CureSearch for Children's Cancer funds and supportstargeted and innovative children's cancer research with measurableresults, and is the authoritative source of information and resourcesfor all those affected by children's cancer.
April 25, 2010 (Houma, LA) — A newly cancer-free Madison “Maddie” Boudreaux plans to spend Saturday morning trekking through a New Orleans park to raise money for research on the disease that threatened her life.
You can join the 6-year-old Houma girl and other locals helping children battle cancer by participating in the first New Orleans CureSearch Walk.
“We should invest in our future,” said Maddie’s mother, Jaime Boudreaux.
The Saturday event begins with registration at 8 a.m. at Audubon Park. Participants may also register ahead of time online at www.curesearchwalk.org.
The 1.8-mile walk begins at 9 a.m., rain or shine.
Danielle Robinson of Raceland, co-chair of the CureSearch Walk, said she hopes the event makes more people realize that childhood cancer strikes more often than some might think.
Robinson and her husband, Rob, lost their son, Demitry “Meechie” Robinson, to brain cancer in 2007. He was 7 years old.
“People hear your story, and they say they’re really sorry, but they think, ‘My kid is healthy,’ ” Robinson said. “Demitry was perfectly healthy. It’s not like they’re sick from the beginning. We never dreamed our son would struggle with something like this.”
Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among U.S. children ages 1 to 14, according to the National Cancer Institute.
This makes raising money for research into improved treatments and a cure an essential effort, Robinson and Boudreaux said.
The CureSearch Walk, open to anyone, involves no contest, just a leisurely walk to raise awareness of childhood cancer. Proceeds support research by the Children’s Oncology Group, a group of medical professionals at hospitals nationwide, including Children’s Hospital in New Orleans.
Margaret Orr, chief meteorologist for WDSU-TV New Orleans, will serve as master of ceremonies. New Orleans Mayor-elect Mitch Landrieu is set to speak at the event, and New Orleans Saints players and staff are expected to attend, Robinson said.
During registration, participants can enjoy children’s activities and breakfast snacks. The event includes a balloon release and moment of silence to honor children lost to cancer. Children battling cancer as well as those in remission will lead the walk as “champions of the day,” Robinson said. Registration costs $10 each for ages 16 and up, with participants encouraged to raise additional money. Ages 15 and under participate for free.
Participants may walk on their own or raise money in honor of Madison Boudreaux by joining “Team Maddie,” or in memory of Demitry Robinson by joining “Meechie’s Mob.”
Team Maddie includes family and friends of Maddie, diagnosed in March 2009 with osteosarcoma, or bone cancer. Maddie underwent surgery and six rounds of chemotherapy at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, before gaining a cancer-free status, her mother said.
“She’s doing great, just like a 6-year-old,” Jaime Boudreaux said. “Her hair is coming back. It’s super short.”
Meechie’s Mob includes family and friends of the Robinsons, who have four remaining children, ages 16 months to 7 years.
Danielle Robinson said the family noticed signs of Demitry’s illness the night before he was set to begin pre-kindergarten.
“He was on the couch starting to act strange, so I put him in the bath and he went gray,” Danielle said. “We took him to the hospital and they found a large tumor in his brain.”
Demitry, also treated at Children’s Hospital, was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer that had already progressed to a later stage.
At age 4, he underwent surgery on the tumor, followed by six months of radiation, then 62 weeks of chemotherapy.
Demitry stayed in remission for 10 months, until his sixth birthday, when doctors discovered his cancer had returned, this time with two tumors.
“He was happy, always in a good mood. You couldn’t tell he was sick,” Danielle Robinson said. “He was a friendly little guy, always making you laugh.”
Demitry underwent “really aggressive” chemotherapy and brain surgery to remove the tumors, but the cancer had taken over the left side of his brain, his mother said. “Sometimes other people think I’m crazy, because I tell them it made me a better mom, because you learn to treasure your other children,” Danielle Robinson said.
The loss also inspired her to help other children with cancer through CureSearch.
“I hate to see another family go through what we’ve been through,” she said. “I just don’t want people to get comfortable to where they think it can’t happen to them.”
To register or for information, visit www.curesearchwalk.org and select New Orleans from the list of cities, 240-235-2216 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Staff Writer Nikki Buskey contributed to this report.
- Laura McKnight
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