ORLANDO, Fla. — Thousands of people will run and walk through SeaWorld for the Greg Warmoth Reindeer Run.
The goal of the event is to not only have fun, but raise money for families going through battles with childhood cancer.
One of those families has 3-year-old twin girls. One is perfectly healthy, the other is in the fight for her life.
A photo of Madelyn in a hospital bed with her twin sister, Allison, lying next to her provides a heart-wrenching image of how childhood cancer is so random and devastating for families like the Stevens, whose world was turned upside-down.
Their mother, Janna Stevens, said Madelyn was diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia on Nov. 20, 2019. She said her first symptom was that she was no longer able to walk.
“That’s after her pediatrician advised us to take her in, and she was diagnosed and started treatment right away,” Janna Stevens said.
The treatments have been hard on Madelyn and her family, but their grateful for community support.
“It was very tough at the beginning. It’s still sometimes tough to talk about it,” father Rusty Stevens said. “But so many people have been so helpful. And we’ve been blessed … it definitely breaks me up a little bit talking about it.”
Money raised from the Reindeer Run supports AdventHealth’s efforts to ease the burden on families like theirs, not just during the holidays, but all year round.
Madelyn’s parents said she’s doing very well and the doctors are very happy with her progress. She is set to finish treatment in March 2022.
Her brother Rusty is going to run in her honor Saturday. All four kids, and their parents, are planning to be at SeaWorld for the event.
Track Shack said registration for the race is 85% full as of Tuesday. Click here to secure your spot.