Cristian Rivera Foundation

Race funds cancer research

The Fifth Annual Race For Grace will be held March 31 at Norwin High School. The race, which includes a five-kilometer run, five-kilometer walk and a one-mile walk, will benefit the Reflections Of Grace Foundation.

The race and the foundation it benefits are named for Grace Elizabeth Ekis, a 5-year-old who died on Valentine’s Day 2008 after a 13-month battle with a rare brain tumor, according to the foundation’s website, run by Brian and Tamara Ekis, Grace’s parents.

The foundation provides financial, educational and emotional support to the families of children with brain cancer.

Grace’s cancer was a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, or a tumor of the brainstem that has no known cure and for which no advances in treatment options have been made for more than 30 years, according to the website.

The website describes it as one of the worst forms of childhood brain cancer. Approximately 150 to 200 children are diagnosed with this type of tumor each year, and survival time is typically nine to 12 months.

In 2011, the race had 1,800 registered runners and walkers, 300 volunteers and 300 spectators, and raised more than $88,000 for the families of children with brain cancer.

That was an increase in funds raised from 2010, when 2,000 attended and more than $70,000 was raised for the families of children with brain cancer.

Opening activities for the 2012 race will begin at 7 a.m. March 31, and the race itself will start at 9 a.m. at the high school at 251 McMahon Drive, North Huntingdon.

Registration fees will be $25 for adults and $20 for children age 12 and younger. A waiver must be signed for each participant, regardless of age.

The Reflections Of Grace Foundation is a nonprofit organization; www.reflectionsofgrace.org.

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By Anne Cloonan

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