ORLANDO, Fla. — The Greg Warmoth Reindeer Run planned for Saturday is nearing capacity.
In 2021, the event had to be held virtually and with limited in-person participants. This year, the event returns to a holiday-themed SeaWorld.
However, behind all the decorations is a very good cause.
Madeline Stevens is only three years old but has already lived much of her life fighting cancer with a twin sister by her side.
“It was definitely very tough on all of us, ‘’ Madeline’s father Rusty said. “Her twin sister at the time, I don’t think was too aware. But when you get them together, you can tell that she knows something. And she’s always actually pretty helpful with her sister and really kind and nice and sweet.”
After spending the 2019 holidays in the hospital, the Stevens family will be at the Reindeer Run this year, an event that supports families battling childhood cancer like theirs
This year’s gift: Madeline’s treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia is working.
“She’s doing very well,” Madeline’s mother Janna said. “She’s in the maintenance cycles of her treatment right now. The doctors are very happy with their progress, and she will finish treatment in March 2022.”
The support is not lost on the Stevens family, who say they’re grateful to the doctors and the community who all came together to help.
“They need help paying the rent. They need help paying the electricity, the water, all those bills…you know, they need help,” Madeline’s physician Dr. Dennis Borrero said.
Borrero is a pediatric hematologist and oncologist at AdventHealth. He says the cancer fight takes more than the medical community, but the entire community, and that fundraisers like the Greg Warmoth Reindeer Run are essential.
“Anything will help make a big difference in our families,” Borrero said.
Registration for the event is limited to 1,500 participants due to ongoing COVID-19 safety protocols. As of Thursday, the event was almost at 90 percent capacity, so there’s still time to register.
Cox Media Group