ABILENE, Texas - Cancer is the second leading cause of death in children younger than 15 years old. This sounds discouraging, but there are people committed to offering hope.
The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life is scheduled for April 26.
For one participant, the race means much more because of one very special four-year-old. Funny, sweet energetic, cute: these words describe Cristie Arnold's son, Conner. Cristie never imagined "cancer patient" would be added to that list.
"I have been thrust into a world I never wanted to be in," Arnold said. "If you want my honest reaction, I thought 'my child is going to die,'" she said.
Conner was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, which is a rare bone cancer in children. Conner has a roughly 70 percent chance of beating it.
Conner said the most difficult part of his treatment has been the "butterfly," which is a power port in his chest used to administer medication.
"While we were at the hospital, anyone who would enter the room, he would say, 'Are you going to hurt me?'" said Arnold.
Arnold says the night time is the hardest.
"You have the quiet time. That's when you start thinking about the 'what if's,'" she said. "I would take this away from him in a heartbeat."
Families like the Arnold's are why the American Cancer Society wants to help. All money from the Relay for Life has a purpose.
"Some of it goes to research to help find a cure for the disease and help improve treatment," said Jacque Thweatt of the American Cancer Society. "We advocate for patients and their families with legislature to help pass laws that will help them with their treatment. We serve patients locally and across the nation and we also educate on preventative measures to help people not get cancer," Thweatt said.
Conner's doctors say his age and the location of the tumor will work in his favor.
If you want to help kids like Conner, there's an opportunity this weekend.
The Dyess Divas Relay for Life team is hosting a fundraising event this Saturday at the Winery at Willow Creek.
There will be food vendors, live music and kid's activities from noon until 10 p.m.
All proceeds from the event go directly to the American Cancer Society.
To learn more about Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society, click here.
To follow Conner on his journey, like his Facebook page, Conner's Crusade, here.
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