Kids Walk for Kids with Cancer – THANK YOU!

Saturday was an amazing day at The Kids Walk for Kids With Cancer. The walk raised over $450,000 and over 1500 people participated.  Team Roar was 325 people strong and raised over $150,000!
Robert, Scarlett, Austin and I are so grateful for all of you that walked along side us or were there in spirit.  Thank you for all of your fund raising efforts in addition to your own generous donations.
Scarlett had the best day in 6 months!  She was grinning ear to ear, happily signing her friend’s tshirts.  Austin was thrilled to be walking with so many friends and classmates. It was an extraordinary day and we’ll never forget the feeling of overwhelming support and such positive energy!
Below, I’ve included my opening remarks from the Kids Walk in case you were not able to be there this past Saturday.

Welcome to Kids Walk for Kids With cancer 2014!
My name is Jennifer James.  My 7 year old daughter, Scarlett, was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma last October.  I would like to start by thanking everyone at MSK for their extraordinary efforts to return my daughter back to the healthy and carefree childhood she deserves.   While still in treatment, Scarlett is here with us today. I asked a friend how I could ever possibly reach out to thank every person that made this day happen and she replied,””just seeing Scarlett is thanks enough.” Well, she is here  — along side many other extraordinary children from the 9th floor of MSK!
I would like to thank the Staples-Vangel family who started the Kids Walk for Kids With Cancer in 2001.   Sophie Staples Vangel was in 8th Grade at Packer Collegiate when her younger brother, Simon,  was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma.
Sophie, you not only thought of your younger brother but you also thought about all the other children that are fighting these terrible diseases. Take a look at the magic you’ve made that surrounds us.  We are 1500 people strong – unified and fighting together as one in the battle against pediatric cancer.  This powerful movement – Kids Walk with Kids with Cancer has raised over 2MM since it’s inception. Sophie, you have become a great role model for Scarlett’s older brother, Austin and I am guessing for many other siblings that are here today.
As many of you know, my daughter has a crazy obsession with all things Harry Potter and I therefore thought it would be appropriate to share a quote from the wisest wizard of all time, Albus Dumbledore.  “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light.”  Today, we all turned the lights on and it is shining brightly on the smiling faces of all of you here.
My husband and I have learned that pediatric cancer research is drastically under researched, underfunded and rarely discussed.  It is estimated that for every dollar the U.S. Gov’t spends on cancer research only 4 cents goes towards pediatric cancer research.
A lack of funding impedes scientific discovery that we desperately need to improve survival rates and to create more effective and less toxic treatments for our children.    MSK has pioneered many of these advances.  Today, we are showing our  support of those doctors and scientists at MSK as they strive to create more effective and less toxic treatments.  Today, we made a difference.  Today, our voices are heard.
The effort to raise awareness and funds for our children does not end when this walk is over .  For many of us, this is our first walk with kids with cancer, but it cannot and will not  be our last.  I thank you for being here today and I urge you to stay involved with Kids Walk.
When I look out at you all, I realize that we have proved what a community can do when we work together.   Thank you to India who kept us all organized. Thank you to our high school ambassadors who worked so hard to bring their teams together. Thank you to the students, family and friends who wrote  appeal letters. Thank you to the little ones who emptied their piggy banks.   Thank you to best friends who remind us what true bravery is and thank you to classmates who designed tshirts, who wrote on sneakers “why they walk”, who colored posters –all to support someone they love who has cancer.
To the children who are here today who are still battling cancer. We salute you. You are our inspiration. You are our motivation.  You have taught us all the true meaning of the word resilience.  All of us will leave here today a little more humble than when we arrived and a little bit more tolerant of the world around us.  You have reminded us to appreciate life.
To summarize Katy Perry’s words , You’ve got the eye of the tiger.  You’re fighters dancing through the fire  You are our champions  and you’re gonna hear us roar!
Today, we walk with the wind at our back, encouraging us to move forward, united and filled with hope for the future. Imagine a world without cancer. I know I do.