Running with the Bulldogs 5K Walk and Run Takes Aim at Childhood Cancer
The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Nothing could be more true when it comes to treating childhood cancer.
On September 23 in Oak Lawn, hundreds of those first steps helped launch the first-ever Running with the Bulldogs 5K Walk and Run event to benefit the Pediatric Oncology Treasure Chest Foundation (POTCF), an Orland Park-based, non-profit organization that provides comfort and distraction from painful procedures to children and teens diagnosed with cancer by providing a toy, gift or gift certificate in 42 hospitals nationwide.
The ground-breaking, ground-pounding event was conceived, organized, implemented and coordinated by Richards High School Boys Cross Country Coach Bob Peck, who saw an opportunity to help young cancer patients while providing a big-race atmosphere that would challenge the athletic skills and endurance of local residents of all ages. Peck’s meticulous planning helped draw the enthusiastic participation of more than 550 seasoned and new runners and walkers ranging in age from nine to 72 years old. Participants encountered mile markers with water stations along the route, and the results were based on chip timing, ensuring the highest accuracy for determining medal winners. And after the last participant had crossed the finish line, an impressive $10,800 had been raised to benefit the Treasure Chest Foundation and ultimately the brave children and teens battling cancer.
The opportunity to help children in the midst of the fight of their lives appealed to the innovative and tireless Peck, who called the Treasure Chest Foundation “a charity unlike any I’ve seen.” In explaining his motivation for creating the popular event, Peck said, “I just wanted to give back to people who deserved to be helped. I had a great upbringing. This was for someone else who needed it more than I did. With the incentive of the toys and gift cards provided by the Foundation, young cancer patients have a light at the end of the tunnel after their chemotherapy or other treatments. The parents of these children are also eternally grateful for the kind gestures of this great charity.”
“Never in a million years would I have imagined such an enormous turnout for a first-ever 5K race,” said Foundation CEO and Founder Colleen Kisel. “I am so appreciative of the unbelievable support of Coach Peck. Money raised from the 5K event will help our Foundation open a new Treasure Chest Program in St. Louis this winter. Congratulations to Bob Peck on a wonderful endeavor.”
The POTCF is a unique organization whose services impact more than 7,900 young cancer patients each month. Nowhere else in the nation does such a program exist. Colleen Kisel founded the organization in 1996 after her then seven-year-old son Martin had been diagnosed with leukemia in 1993. Ms. Kisel discovered that giving her son a toy after each procedure provided a calming distraction from his pain, noting that when children are diagnosed with cancer their world soon becomes filled with doctors, nurses, chemotherapy drugs, surgeries and seemingly endless painful procedures. Martin celebrated his 19th anniversary of remission from the disease earlier this year.
If you would like further information about the Treasure Chest Foundation, please contact Colleen Kisel at 708-687-TOYS (8697) or visit the Foundation’s web site at www.treasurechest.org.