Hope for Kids with Cancer

Brooke Hester’s Be Bold, Glow Gold Family 5K: raising awareness for Brooke’s Blossoming Hope for Childhood Cancer Foundation

By: Holly Duvall and Jessica Hester

Around 1,000 participants from the Coastal Bend came out Saturday, Sept. 5 for the third annual Be Bold, Glow Gold Family 5K Run and Walk at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi. There were all kinds supporting this great event, including kids with cancer, their families, volunteers and media. To help cheer them along, local area high school bands, cheer squads and mascots were on hand, along with special guest “Buddy” Texas’ own H-E-B mascot.

A little over four years ago, the race director, Lisa Trevino, came up with the idea of having a run because she was passionate about helping local area kids with cancer, she loved Brooke Hester and she wanted to bring awareness to and raise funds for critical pediatric cancer research and finding a cure.

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After BeBe Bellfield invited Brooke to go to a Glow in the dark pep rally led by her Collegiate High School students who had raised $1,000 for Brooke’s Blossoming Hope for Childhood Cancer Foundation, Brooke said the run should be a “glow run.” The gold ribbon symbolizing pediatric cancer awareness during the month of September was at the heart of Brooke always saying, “Be bold, rock the gold,” and “Be bold, go gold,” hence the event getting its name, “Be Bold Glow Gold.”

The Corpus Christi Hooks, who were very kind to Brooke and honored her for her work in the community, had a big part in the change of venue from the North Beach Dolphin Park, where the event has taken place the last two years. They generously agreed to allow the event committee to use their field and parking lot, but with the change and Brooke’s passing in late June, the committee was challenged with less time to plan.

They triumphed over the challenge, and the event took place as planned aside the Harbor Bridge lit in gold thanks to the City of Corpus Christi going gold for all kids with all types of cancer.

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The 5K route was in place, and the community came together. Parks and Recreation opened up the Galvan House a week prior to the run to turn it gold and offer free portraits for local families of kids with cancer; they also adorned the Corpus Christi Water Gardens in gold along the route of the run.

Suzette Quintanilla, the sister of the late Tejano singer Selena, worked closely with the city and Cevantes Electric in order to light up the Selena monument all month. This was also positioned along the route, marking the turnaround point for the participants. Quintanilla even funded the lighting of the monument through the Selena Foundation.

Corpus Christi Mayor Nelda Martinez provided a proclamation read aloud by a member of City Council just prior to the honorary pediatric cancer warrior lap around Whataburger Field, which kicked off the black light glow run. The city has been extremely supportive of the foundation’s efforts, and the mayor has declared September to officially be the month of pediatric cancer awareness in Corpus Christi.

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The goals of the event are to bring families of local kids with cancer together, giving them an honorary function to bring awareness for those fighting pediatric cancer within our own communities, and to raise money for underfunded, cutting-edge pediatric cancer research initiatives.

There is a different research initiative chosen to support each year. In 2014, $15,000 was raised, and with a match that was provided, the foundation gave $30,000 to cold plasma research at TAMUCC, enabling Dr. Magesh Thiyagarajan to test solid tumor pediatric cancer cells for the first time.

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This year, close to $25,000 was raised and will be used to help fund new and promising research that will examine cancer at the genomic level for both kids and dogs with cancer in hope to bring cures and expedited drug development to both populations that otherwise have limited treatment options. The research looks at childhood and canine cancers from needle biopsies to develop personalized medicine techniques of treating each case on an individual basis. You can learn more about this Gold Collar Companion Project on the foundation’s website and via the Facebook page.

For more information, visit www.brookesblossoms.org or www.facebook.com/beboldglowgold.

Photos courtesy of Brookes Blossoms

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