A Westport girl named Phoebe was 11 years old — just finishing 6th grade — when she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. The malignant bone tumor is usually seen in teenagers.
At Sloan Kettering she was treated wonderfully. But it was tough: grueling chemotherapy, plus numerous surgeries on her leg.
In September of 2011, she underwent a groundbreaking surgery. She was the 1st patient in New York to try a new device that uses magnetic force. After 2 years on crutches, she could walk again.
Phoebe’s positive spirit was unwavering. She and her family went on a vacation that included scuba diving.
She worked hard in 8th grade to prepare for Staples. Always an avid athlete, she found a new sport — archery — in which to compete.
Phoebe also became involved in volunteer organizations. Knowing how much support and love she had received, she wanted to give back.
On March 1, 2013, during her 2-year anniversary checkup for being cancer-free from osteosarcoma, Phoebe was diagnosed with secondary acute myeloid leukemia.
She endured more terrible chemo, and 8 days in intensive care.
On May 23, 2013, Phoebe received a bone marrow transplant. Her sister Hallie — a perfect match — was the donor.
Phoebe’s intelligence, kindness and inner strength kept herself, her family and friends going. Now post-transplant, she is getting back to “normal” life.
She appreciates every second of it. And that is why she was inspired to start “Phoebe’s Phriends”: to help find a cure for pediatric cancers.
At 10 a.m. on Sunday, September 21, the Phriends group — now a 501(c)3 — sponsors a “Colorflash 5K” run. It’s a great distance to run (or walk) — and fun. Participants will be splashed with color dust at 4 stations. Post-race festivities include food trucks.
All proceeds will be donated to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for Pediatric Cancer Research.
“06880” gets 10 to 15 requests a day to publicize worthwhile events. Westport is filled with them, and it’s tough to say no. But “06880” is a blog, not a community calendar.
Every so often, though, a fundraiser comes through that is so special — with such a compelling back story — that I gladly say “sure!”
No matter what else you are doing on Sunday, September 21, Phoebe and her Phriends deserve our support.
(Registration is $25 pre-race; $35 the day of the race. Of course, larger donations are accepted too. For details, click here.)