The 9th annual Amanda Hichkad CCA Celebration Walk exceeded its $1 million fundraising goal.
The Upper Chesapeake Health Foundation, organizer of the walk, said Saturday’s event raised $140,000, bringing the cumulative total to more than $1 million raised for the UM Upper Chesapeake Health’s Cancer LifeNet since the founding of the walk in 2014.
The walk is named in honor of the late Amanda Hichkad, a Bel Air wife and mother of three boys who died from cancer in September 2014. Hichkad received services from Cancer LifeNet during her treatment and her family continues to support the organization, said Cooper Hichkad, Amanda’s 17-year-old middle son. Cancer LifeNet provides free supportive-care services to cancer patients who are residents of Harford and Cecil counties, regardless of where cancer treatment is received.
“This event — every single individual — embodies my mother’s principles,” Cooper said at the start of Saturday’s walk, held at The John Carroll School in Bel Air. “I appreciate every single one of you.”
Cooper reflected on his memories of his mom and shared a couple of stories from her blog. “Around this time of year, I like to look back at my mom’s journal entries,” he said. “When she wasn’t complaining about my brothers and I, [or] discussing her treatment options and plans, she was talking about the better side of life.”
Among her happiest entries during her final days were about the walk, Cooper said. Although the stage IV cervical cancer had spread to other parts of her body, Amanda Hichkad was able to attend the first walk in May 2014 and watched from the stands.
“She wrote with such joy about this event, being able to be a major part of the first, and she would be overwhelmed with happiness to hear it’s still annual,” Cooper said. “Taken directly from her: ‘It was probably the most emotionally moving day I’ve ever had.’ This walk meant the world to her, and I am forever grateful to all of you, as your participation and support is the reason it can continue.”
More than 500 people participated in the walk on Saturday, including Alethea Hill from Aberdeen. Hill was diagnosed in 2017 with stage IV lung cancer that metastasized to her bones. Escorted by her husband, Kenneth, and relying on a walker, Hill completed her laps around the track, wearing a T-shirt that read: “God is stronger than cancer.”
“I’m blessed,” Hill said. “That’s why I’m here today.”
Cooper Hichkad encouraged the walkers to remember his late mother’s motto: “Faith, Grace, Strength.”
The Aegis’ Matt Button also contributed to this story.