Book for Hope is having its fourth annual Just Imagine Childhood Cancer Walk on Saturday, Sept. 7 at Paducah's Noble Park Shelter 16, located at 2801 Park Ave in Paducah.
The fundraising goal for this event is $40,000, doubling the $20,415 raised last year.
Activities begin at 8 a.m. with the walk starting at 9 a.m. Registration is $20 per person and includes a T-shirt for all participants who register by Thursday, Aug. 20. The shirts will be available for walk-up registrants on Sept. 7 while supplies last.
To register, visit www.bookforhope.org. Event updates are posted on Book for Hope Facebook page.
Gaylon Hayden, president of Book for Hope Inc., said this event ties in with the not-for-profit's three main goals to raise awareness of childhood cancer, help families financially and raise money for children's cancer research. Proceeds from this year's walk will help expand the families Book for Hope serves.
One of the families Book for Hope is currently helping is the Sielbeck family from Brookport.
Katherine Sielbeck, 7, daughter of Chris and Tara Sielbeck, was diagnosed with a rare form of papillary thyroid cancer in October 2018. Katherine suffered with terrible leg pain, making it difficult for her to run and play. The Sielbeck family first were told Katherine had arthritis.
In September 2018, an MRI revealed a large tumor on her spinal cord. The neurosurgeon only removed part of the tumor to prevent Katherine from being paralyzed. Her thyroid was removed in January 2019.
Katherine is currently going through experimental chemotherapy treatments that have never been used on anyone before. This requires making weekly visits to the oncologist at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis.
The registration fee for the Sept. 7 walk includes treats from Super City Dots; Paducah Bank's Wow Wagon; face painting and hamburgers and hot dogs provided by Atmos Energy; Majestic Sounds DJ with photo booth and props; Zumba with Tishaunda Fitness; Yoga with Robin Foster from The Living Arts Center; and a T-shirt. A memory and in honor ceremony will be held at the end of the walk.
"We have the most amazing sponsors in the world that care about children and adolescents with cancer, and together we have a fun filled event planned," Hayden said. "The walk is for everyone, regardless of age, or whether or not you have had a cancer diagnosis. It is about bringing awareness and light to the number one disease related death in children: cancer."
Book for Hope is an all-volunteer not-for-profit organization that helps families in western Kentucky and southern Illinois who have children going through active cancer treatment.
Families either come to Book for Hope themselves for assistance or are referred by social workers at the children's hospital of choice for treatment. Expenses Book for Hope helps with include an emergency pack when a child is first diagnosed, assistance with food and gas for treatments and monthly bill assistance can also be applied for.
Book for Hope gave 32 percent of its proceeds to help with children's cancer research funding at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville.
According to Book for Hope, childhood cancer research receives four percent of the federal government's cancer research funding while adults receive 96 percent. Each day, 43 children are diagnosed with childhood cancer in the U.S. One in eight of these children will not survive.
"We are not saying adults don't deserve the progress in research that has been made, because it is not a competition and all cancer is beyond horrible," Hayden said. "What we are saying is children deserve more advancements in research and kinder treatments that don't have the potential to kill but to cure."
In the last 35 years, according to Book for Hope, only four cancer treatments have been specifically developed and approved for children.
"We want to be a voice to raise childhood cancer awareness," Hayden said. "When we had our first childhood cancer walk we were told we didn't need to have a walk for children with cancer. The reason we were given was because children can walk with adults at cancer walks. We want you to know why we do what we do"