Superheroes ages 3 months to adult are set to rally, celebrate and “battle” on Saturday, Oct. 7 in a show of ongoing strength, support and commitment to the fight against cancer.
The event, a 5K run/walk, is set to begin 7:30 a.m. at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter. The third annual “Stronger Than Cancer Young Hero 5K Run” will wind through downtown Abacoa and end at the stadium. Hosted by the Pediatric Oncology Support Team (POST), it is expected to draw more than 1,000 participants.
Barbara Abernathy, a cancer survivor who founded POST, said this year’s event is seeing a marked growth in participation dollars raised, with a goal to raise $75,000.
“I’ve had my own battle,” said Abernathy, who has led the nonprofit organization since its origin 19 years ago. “My journey brought me here, it’s a natural fit and there was a need.”
In six months, POST will mark 20 years of service to the community. To date, the organization has helped 2,000 area children and teens. All services provided to children and families are free of charge.
“There is so much more to cancer than the clinical side… radiation, chemotherapy,” she said. “If we can keep those kids fighting by giving them the emotional and financial support they need… That’s the key.”
As the 5K participants make their way throughout the course, onlookers will see a demonstration of cohesive support, donned in superhero costumes from capes, face paint, T-shirts and sneakers, to baby carriages, with a 10-yard diaper dash for some infants, set to take part, diagnosed with cancer as early as three weeks of age. Colored beads will signify various symbols in the fight against the deadly disease, such as blue for hope, red for strength, green for resilience and gold — the color of childhood cancer — for bravery.
Following arrival at the finish line back at Roger Dean Stadium, participants of all ages can enjoy fun activities, each set around the superhero theme. Some planned include a Kidz Fun Zone with games and a waterslide, making videos with words of encouragement to the brave fighters in a Courage Cam tent, boxing in gloves to “Fight Cancer Like a Kid” and more. Refreshments will be provided to all in attendance, as well as prizes awarded to all with a distinctive finisher’s medallion. Other prizes will recognize the best fundraising team, best team name, best superhero costume and best pet costume.
Abernathy added that the event fosters the intergenerational aspects of families stricken with childhood cancer.
“It’s about raising awareness, sharing joy and compassion,” she said. “The trauma of this kind of thing, a parent in the hospital with one child, another at home with siblings, challenges with work and grandparents taking on caregiving in this phase of life. It brings added meaning because they find each other, connect and bond in new ways they never knew before.”
Abernathy said she is connected and committed to the fight, due to lifetime of living with cancer from family members diagnosed to her own battle. “The kids inspire me and keep me going,” she said.
Pediatric Oncology Support Team (POST) is located at 5325 Greenwood Ave., Suite 301, in West Palm Beach. To make a donation, or to learn more, call (561) 882-6336 or visit www.postfl.org.