My name is Sami Argutto and I will be participating in the Millennium Meadows Marathon here in Grand Rapids on August 25th 2019 where I will be running in the half marathon to raise funds and awareness for the ChadTough Foundation. The ChadTough Foundation’s mission is to fund research and raise awareness for Pediatric Brain Tumors with an emphasis on Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG). I first heard about the ChadTough Foundation when one night in August I was laying in bed scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed when I saw a post asking for prayers for a 5-year-old little boy named Tommy Ruddy. When I first saw the post, it struck a chord in my heart because at the time my nephew Vincent was also five years old. He also only lived a few towns over from me. Tommy was diagnosed with DIPG, a form of terminal pediatric brain cancer. As I followed Tommy’s journey though his facebook page Team Tommy Army Strong, God opened my eyes and broke my heart to how monstrous and devastating pediatric cancer is. Often times I think I thought of bald kids in hats smiling. What I never really saw or was exposed to was a child fighting a cancer like DIPG, loosing the ability to walk, talk, eat on their own, and breath on their own. This is the reality of DIPG. This is the reality that so many children and their families are currently facing. Tommy was freed from DIPG and went home to be Jesus on November 3rd 2016, three months after his diagnosis and just 8 days shy of his 6thbirthday. Not long after this, Tommy’s family became a partner family with the ChadTough Foundation. This is when I also learned about Chad’s story and legacy and why the foundation began. Chad passed away at just five years old just like Tommy. While I have never considered myself a runner, over the course of the past two and a half years, God has broken my heart immensely for these children and their families and I knew that I wanted to do more and was supposed to do more. Everyday 700 children are digaonsied with cancer. That's 253,400 children a year. Approximately 4% of the taxpayer-funded National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) annual budget is directed toward pediatric cancer. Of that 4% less than 1% goes to pediatric brain cancers. Pediatric cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children. Brain tumors are the leading cause of cancer related deaths in children. DIPG is the leading cause of death from brain tumors in children. For DIPG, the main course of treatment that is offered is radiation in hopes to prolong life for a little while; this is the same option that was given to families in the 1960s, it is the same option that was given to Neil Armstrong daughter before she also passed way to DIPG.
Our children deserve better than this. I’m running for Tommy. I’m running for Chad. I’m running for every single child lost to this disease and those who are currently facing it and for those who are yet to be diagnosed. I’m running because as I write this, I just found out that another family right here in Michigan just lost their child to this horrible disease. I’m running so that one day, when a child is diagnosed, rather then being told there is nothing that can be done, families are told “your child has DIPG and this is what we are going to do to treat him.” I’m running because it has been suggested that a cure to DIPG might result in a cure for almost every other type of cancer. I would love for you to join me in this fight! Here are some ways you can help.
1. My goal is to raise 2,110 dollars to help in this fight. In a half marathon, there are 21.1 kilometers, 100 dollars for every kilometer that I will be running. Whether it’s 1, 10 or 100 dollars every dollar counts.
2. You can tell others. These children are more than statistics, they are sons, daughters, brothers and sisters. They are image bearers of God.
3. You can pray. Prayer is POWERFUL. You can pray for these children and their families who are continuously impacted by this disease. You can pray for healing. For the doctors and researchers who are work tirelessly each and everyday to find a cure.