Fundraiser to Help Fight Childhood Cancer Being Held at Charlottesville Park

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Krissy Pitts Krissy Pitts
Lee Gibson Lee Gibson

Hundreds of families are expected to gather at the University of Virginia this weekend to celebrate, honor, and remember children with cancer.

The 2017 Charlottesville CureSearch Superheroes Unite event is scheduled to kick off at the Park at UVA 9 a.m. Saturday, October 14.

Families who have been impacted by childhood cancer say this event is not just about raising money for research, but about reuniting with families outside of the hospital and continuing to support those who are still fighting.

“Forty-three children are diagnosed with cancer daily, and to kind of put that in perspective it's a school bus full of children,” said organizer Krissy Pitts.

Pitts' daughter, Anna, was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 18 months old. Anna is now 7 and a half.

“Doing amazing. Gymnastics, dance, soccer, theatre has now replaced all her hospital stays,” said her mother.

Pitts now helps organize the Charlottesville chapter CureSearch walk to raise money for other families fighting childhood cancer.

“All the proceeds from the walk is used directly for childhood cancer research, clinical trials, and just resources for cancer families,” Pitts said.

The struggle to find funding for childhood cancer is a battle the Lee Gibson and his family knows all too well: “Funding for childhood cancer is rare. So it really comes down to, essentially, the families is the foundation getting the word out and the funding,” he said.

Gibson's son, Caleb, was diagnosed with histiocytic sarcoma in 2015. There were only seven documented cases at the time.

“The unknown, I think, is the scariest,” said the father.

Caleb is in remission, but the family continues to fight through CureSearch, to learn more about the disease, and keep the cancer from coming back.

“That's where it comes back to trying to get funding for research, creating awareness to get that funding,” said Gibson.

“Words can't explain how this event means to me. We have seen children lose the fight right here in Charlottesville. My daughter Anna has met some of these kids, and it's hard, and it's so wonderful for all these families to come together to celebrate, honor, and remember our children,” Pitts said.