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Raeleigh’s Run 5K slated for Saturday

During an ultrasound on January 14, a four-inch by four-inch tumor was found in the abdomen of 16 month old Raeleigh Jane McCartha. She was immediately sent to Children’s Hospital of Alabama in Birmingham, where she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a form of childhood cancer.

It was later determined that McCartha had stage four neuroblastoma and was put into the high risk category. During scans, the cancer was found to have spread to her bones, arms, legs, spine and pelvis, but had not spread to her organs.

Since the diagnosis, McCartha has undergone aggressive chemo treatment where she has had chemotherapy for five straight days every couple of weeks.

To show their support for McCartha and her family, Crenshaw County has come together to host “Raeleigh’s Run” 5K and one-mile fun run this Saturday at 8 a.m. at Troy University.

“A friend of the family arranged a group meeting for anyone who wanted to help and discuss different fundraising options, one of those being a run,” said Andrea Frost, cousin to McCartha.

“The group of family and friends decided that the run was a great option to not just gain financial support, but also for people to be able to come out and show their support in person.”

Frost stated that the group had hoped that McCartha and her family would be able to attend the race, but due to her surgery, they will not be able to attend.

“However, we are overjoyed that Raeleigh’s tumor has shrunk enough for her to be able to have surgery and still hope that everyone will attend the run and show Raeleigh how many people are helping her to fight her battle against neuroblastoma,” Frost said.

Not only has the community of Crenshaw come together to host a run, they have also started a “Team Raeleigh Jane” t-shirt campaign and had over 800 shirts made. The community has also sold bracelets, pizzas and have held many raffles to raise funds for the family.

“The wonderful thing is that people have approached the family about wanting to do fundraisers for Raeleigh just because they want to help,” Frost said.

“For those that have Facebook, I’m sure you constantly see Raeleigh on your newsfeed. The Team Raeleigh Jane Facebook page has over 5,800 followers. It has been truly amazing to witness the support from the community, not just with donations, but also the prayers, cards and visits.”

The immediate goal of the race, like the other fundraisers, is to raise money for McCartha and her family to help offset medical expenses.  Long term, the family said they would like to see a foundation for McCartha established, and they would also like to make “Raeleigh’s Run” an annual fundraising event for the foundation.

“Childhood cancer doesn’t seem to get the amount of fundraising support or even recognition that other cancers do, and we would like to ensure that children suffering from cancer get the help they need,” Frost said.

Currently, McCartha has completed four rounds of chemotherapy and has been taking them like a true warrior, according to the family. She had a scan done last week, and it was found that her tumor has decreased by at least 50 percent.

“The doctors feel confident that the tumor can now be removed, so Raeleigh has surgery planned for April 29. After surgery, she’ll have one more round of chemo.  When that’s completed, she’ll have another bone marrow test and MIBG scan,” Frost said.

“With those and also the pathology report from the surgery in hand, Raeleigh will have two rounds of high dose chemo with a stem cell rescue followed by radiation and immunotherapy. She still has a long road ahead of her, but the family knows God is in control and has been at peace throughout this trying time. They thank everyone for the continued prayers of healing and praise God for the blessings.”