September was childhood cancer awareness month. It reminded me of the students in our community who bravely fought this horrible disease. Centennial High School friends Zach Lederer and Keeley Imel come to mind. Kids who did not have the opportunity to grow old, but who left a rich legacy of helping other kids with cancer.
While the race to cure childhood cancer continues, two Mt. Hebron High School students - senior Sophie Bronow and sophomore Mackenzie Strozyk - give me hope that kids battling cancer will not be fighting alone.
This dynamic duo serve as Run a 5k to Make a Kid’s Day race directors, the annual 5k and one-mile fun run held on Labor Day weekend in Cypressmede Park.
Hannah Arnold, a Mt. Hebron High schoolmate, created the race in 2010, to benefit a neighbor battling leukemia - 6-year-old Matthew Hoffman.
When Arnold graduated in 2016, the two young women volunteered to take the helm.
In the last two years, Bronow and Strozyk raised a total of $5,500 and increased both race participation and sponsorships. The race directors donated all proceeds to the Hope for Henry Foundation. This Washington, D.C. foundation provides pediatric patients and their families needed distractions from the monotony and stress of their treatments - visits from professional athletes, superhero celebrations, Halloween parties, movie days, book events and more.
When I think of the young people who help other kids - the Sophies, Mackenzies and Hannahs in our community - it reminds me of what Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The purpose of life is … to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived ...” Kudos to these young women.
One last note, remember 6-year-old Matthew Hoffman? Today he is a healthy teenager, his cancer in remission.