We're excited to kick off The Power of Running campaign. Starting this Saturday, August 1, we'll be highlighting the positive effects of running. One of the ways we are doing this is by giving back to our community. Every weekend between August 1 and September 30, we'll collect a portion of the sale of designated items. At the end of those nine weeks, we'll donate the entire amount to Four Diamonds. There are a lot of great charities out there, but our decision to partner with Four Diamonds was an easy one. We'd like to take this opportunity to share the stories of two of our team members, Megan Howe and Bekah Rundall.
Our daughter Megan was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia three days before her 2nd birthday. She began 2 years and 3 months of chemotherapy at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center (HMC). Pediatric cancer patients being treated at HMC become Four Diamonds children. Four Diamonds covers all expenses for the care and treatment of the children not paid for by insurance or other means.
For 2 years, our lives revolved around medicine logs, oncology clinic visits, outpatient procedures, blood counts, hospital stays, lumbar punctures (spinal taps to insert chemotherapy into her central nervous system), and reading medicine sheets written to inform parents of the worst possible side-effects from the drugs used to treat her condition. She was 4 years old when she completed treatment; and when asked about what she remembers, her reply is often a single word – “THON”.
Megan is now 18 years old, 16 years in remission, and 14 years off treatment. If you didn’t know she’s a cancer survivor, you would see a typical teenage girl.
I am a Four Diamonds Sister.
I write “CANCER” on the bottom of my shoe to pound it to the ground with each step I take.
I run for those who cannot run; I run for my big sister, Alicia.
In the fall of 1993 Alicia was only 14-years old, a freshman in high school.
To me, she was perfect. She was smart, athletic, stunningly beautiful, caring, and spirited.
Her migraines did not stop her from being a straight A student and running on the cross-country team and they did not slow her down from putting me, her often annoying little sister, in my place when she needed to. She had it all. Her long brown hair always seemed to shine and her bright green eyes would always sparkle, especially when she smiled.
But in October of that year our lives were thrown upside down; an MRI revealed that Alicia had brain cancer – an aggressive malignant melanoma – and surgery was scheduled for the next morning.
My big sister Alicia turned 15 on November 7th, 1993 – it was the last birthday she would celebrate with us.
Alicia passed on May 4th, 1994 at 15 years, 5 months, and 27 days old.
She may have lost her long brown hair and at times some of her memory, but she did not “lose her battle” with cancer, she fought hard, gave it hell, and was courageous the whole way.
Four Diamonds was there to ensure she could fight, give it hell, and be as courageous as she was through her battle. Four Diamonds made sure that our family would only need to worry about each other. They picked up what the insurance did not; they covered numerous brain surgeries, countless radiation treatments, and experimental drugs. They provided meal vouchers for our stays in the hospital. They provided support to our family in countless ways. Their goal is not only to help families through their worst times, but also ultimately put the words “Your child has cancer” out of use.
Though Alicia did not get a chance to grow up, I know that because of what Four Diamonds did for us and what the doctors tried and learned from that many other little girls will get the chance to grow up. They will have a future because of my sister’s bravery and her battle.
I am a Four Diamonds Sister.