Souderton ‘Lemon Runners’to run for late pediatric cancer patient
Life never was easy for little Jolee Boarder, born prematurely March 25, 2008, weighing in at just 1 pound, 6 ounces. She VSHnW PuFK RI KHU fiUVW yHDU RI OLIH Rn UHVSLUDWRUV DnG fiJKWLnJ D septic infection — she even had heart surgery.
After a stint of good health, in August 2009, the 1-year-old developed “unexplainable” fevers. Her pediatrician sent her to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) for testing.
“During an ultrasound of Jolee’s abdomen the technician looked over at my husband and I and said, ‘What are you guys here for anyway?’ and we knew something was very wrong,” Jess Boarder, Jolee’s mother, wrote in the Boarders’ Alex’s Lemonade Stand bio.
The doctors found a mass on Jolee’s abdomen, then found tumors in her bone marrow and bones. Since Jolee was so small, she got a nasogastric (NG) tube in order to keep her size up to receive chemotherapy. During her treatment, her parents wrote that she “looked like a cancer patient” and had no hair, eyelashes or eyebrows.
Jolee lost her nine-month-battle with neuroblsatoma in April 2010, and this year, her memory lives on as Team Jolee participates in The Lemon Run Nov. 11.
The Lemon Run is the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation’s annual 5K fundraising event and is held at Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park from 8:30 to 11 a.m. A family friendly event, the day includes a kids’ dash and participation of childhood cancer heroes and their families.
For Corinne Degeiso, who formed Souderton-based “Team Jolee” with her husband, Paul, it is important that more funding is available for pediatric cancer research. According to CHOP statistics, only about 4 percent of the $5.508 billion in government funding annually for cancer research is dedicated to childhood cancer.
“As a mother, it is important to me that more funding is made available because pediatric cancer is the leading cause of death for children under 15,” Degeiso said.
Every year, nearly 10,400 children under the age of 15 are diagnosed with cancer and the average age of a child diagnosed in 10, according to CHOP statistics.
Degeiso, who is good friends with Jess Boarder, formed the team to support her friends. Team Jolee hopes to raise $1,000 before the race and are asking for the community’s help. To donate, visit alexslemonade.org/ mypage/86686.
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation raises money and awareness of childhood cancer causes through research into new treatments and cures. It also seeks to encourage children to help make a difference for children with cancer.
The Lemon Run is just one way to support the foundation. Team Lemon, the foundation’s “athletic arm,” invites athletes of any caliber to raise money for those affected by childhood cancer through participation in running, biking, swimming and any athletic event of their choosing. For example, Alex’s Lemonade Stand reserves spots Ln KHDYy-WUDIfiF UDFHV VuFK DV the New York and Philadelphia marathons and members of 7HDP /HPRn KDYH fiUVW DFFHVV WR reserved spots if they meet fundraising goals, according to Gillian Kocher, public relations for the foundation.
Mary Kelley, a member of TEAM USA in the 2005 and 2006 Short Course World Triathlon Championships, is even available for training, nutrition and other advice for members of Team Lemon.
To sign up for the Lemon Run or Team Lemon, visit alexslemonade.org.