When Greg and Patrice Kelly learned that their daughter Charlotte had a rare and as-yet incurable cancer two and a half years ago, they got to work right away with friends and family on fundraising for research.
"The thought of waiting for a cure to come to us was unfathomable," Greg Kelly told members of Braintree last month. "There is no question people in this town are aware and have been affected by this disease."
Charlotte Kelly was diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer, Stage IV neuroblastoma, in June 2009 and passed away on Dec. 7, 2011 after undergoing extensive treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation and stem-cell transplants. This April 22, Prayers for Charlotte will hold its second annual road race, launching from the in Braintree.
"Our desire has only intensified," Greg Kelly said. "We would like this race to advance until we never have to ask 'Who is Next?'"
Last spring, Prayers for Charlotte – a 100 percent volunteer organization – sent $60,000 it raised in the inaugural race to the Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids, MI, where a leading pediatric oncologist performs neuroblastoma research. This year, Greg Kelly said he would like to raise even more money, and send a portion of it to families affected by the disease who need financial help.
More than 2,000 runners and walkers participated in the Braintree race last year. As of last week, some 1,500 people had already signed up for the April 22 event, according to event coordinator Laura Graziano.
"Participants of all ages are coming from all over the country to take part in this worthwhile event," Graziano said in an email. "The support of local businesses and the town of Braintree has been tremendous."
Neuroblastoma is a rare form of cancer associated with the nerve cells and adrenal glands that commonly occurs in infants and very young children, according to the Prayers for Charlotte website, where those interested can also find more information on the race and register.
Registration is $30, and $20 for those ages 18 and younger. Also go to https://racewire.com/register.php?id=1538 to register. For additional information, contact event coordinators Laura Graziano firstname.lastname@example.org or Grace White email@example.com.