After being diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma at the beginning of April, 5-year-old Olivia Weatherford has seen a massive outpouring of community support swell around her, with numerous charities …
After being diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma at the beginning of April, 5-year-old Olivia Weatherford has seen a massive outpouring of community support swell around her, with numerous charities offering aid and donations being gathered, one of which is a 5K race planned for June 1.
Olivia is the young daughter of Aaron and Sarah Weatherford. The Weatherfords were shocked to discover the serious condition with which their daughter was diagnosed. They originally thought the issue Olivia was having was caused by her appendix. After discovering her condition, they took their daughter at St. Jude’s immediately.
Neuroblastoma is a common childhood cancer found in developing nerve cells, usually in children under 10 years of age. Almost 90 percent of cases are diagnosed by age 5. Olivia’s chances of survival are somewhat positive, but she still has a long road ahead of her.
The 5K race — Liv in the Journey — is being planned by Camill Howard. In addition to the 5K, there is a family one-mile included as well. The event begins at 8:30 a.m. June 1 at Greenway Park.
“They found out on Tuesday, April 2, that she had stage 4, that it was cancer, and I had the 5K in the works by Friday,” Howard said. “This is every parent’s nightmare; but if I were in their shoes, I’d feel so much better if I saw people behind me to help me along the way.”
Numerous community members and businesses have come out in support of the little girl, including Tennova Healthcare, which is sponsoring the event T-shirtsprovided by Brooks Screen Printing.
Originally, the race’s fee was going to help pay for T-shirts, with the remainder going to the Weatherfords. However, thanks to Tennova, now all proceeds will go to the Weatherfords.
Howard is friends with Sarah Weatherford. Aaron works as the membership director at the Cleveland-Bradley Chamber of Commerce, so the family was already well-known within the community.
She reports numerous sponsors have come to her asking to support the 5K. She is proud to announce they’ve raised over $5,000 in sponsorship money alone.
“I’ve been getting emails every day from people asking to sponsor the event or asking to pay for something. I haven’t even started going around town asking for sponsors yet,” Howard said.
Within the first two weeks after announcing the 5K, Liv in the Journey already has 150 people registered.
Howard said she wanted to put something together to rally community support behind Olivia that would not only raise money for the family, but also show them how many people are supporting and praying for them.
“I want to pray with everyone who’s there. I want the family to see how many people are praying for them and loving them. It’s so important to get everyone together for the family to see, because they aren’t having to worry about normal payments and bills because of events like this,” Howard added.
Numerous vendors will also attend the 5K with food and drinks for purchase. Since the vendors are fronting their own costs, all funds raised from food purchases goes to the Weatherfords as well.
Sponsors of the event include Tennova Healthcare, Crossfit Sublime, Brooks Screen Printing, Remax — the Munk Team, Pediatric Dentistry of Chattanooga, Cleveland Optometric Vision Center/ Sam Horner, Static Salon, Crepe Outdoors Catering, Cleveland Eye Clinic/ Cortney Bramlett, Premier Roofing, Ultra Sport, Forever Green Lawn Services/Two Rivers Lawncare, Hughes and Associates, Brittany Mowery Photography and Southeast Bank.
David and Brittany Durkin with Terra Running Company will be helping register all participants.
“Everyone is encouraged to come to this, because anyone of any skill level can participate. Some people run, others walk and we even see some people pushing their babies in their strollers, so you know it’s for everyone,” Howard said.
Tickets cost $25 for the 5K and $15 for the one mile. That price will go up the closer it gets to the race They can be purchased at https://register.chronotrack.com/r/49733.
For more information and to stay up-to-date on the event and Olivia, follow the Facebook event page, “Liv in the Journey 5K and Family 1 Mile” or join the Facebook group called “LIV — In The Journey.”
For those who’d like to donate to the Weatherfords, they’ve set up a GoFundMe at https://www.gofundme.com/liv-in-the-journey.
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