Family to raise cancer awareness
By: Shayla Terry
September is childhood cancer awareness month, The McCartha family has decided to kickoff the celebration with a balloon release in Luverne on Saturday, Aug. 26.
“This is something that my family and church family have come up with,” Josh McCartha said. “We want to honor the things that my daughter and others like her have gone through trying to beat cancer.”
Josh’s daughter is Raeleigh Jane McCartha. Raeleigh Jane was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma when she was 16 months old. Today, the two year old has undergone immense treatment, and her condition is steadily improving. The family recently returned to the Crenshaw area from a doctor’s appointment in Michigan.
“We were up there all last week,” McCartha said. “She had more scans done and more lab work. We were told that her year-end analysis numbers were down and her scans were still stable and that’s a good things for us.”
McCartha grew up in Luverne, and the community has rallied behind the McCartha family since the diagnosis in January 2016. The family once lived in Pike County, but has since relocated back to Luverne.
“We want to bring more people together to show support for families who go through this from our hometown to across the world. We are happy to be able to do that here and have everyone’s help.”
Raeleigh has a Facebook page dedicated to her journey called Team Raeleigh Jane; to date it has more than 11,000 likes. The family updates the page regularly so that everyone can keep up with the two-year-old’s progress.
The McCarthas have worked to make the day a grand event, from requesting the mayor’s attendance to getting a proclamation made for the awareness month.
“We’ve been planning this for a few weeks now,” McCartha said. “We trying to get everything lined up so that everyone who wants to be a part can be and learn about childhood cancer.”
According to the Amerian Cancer Society, childhood cancer makes up less than 1 percent of all cancers diagnosed each year. After car accidents, cancer is the second leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 15.
Raeleigh Jane had numerous fundraisers held in her name throughout the Crenshaw County area as well as Pike County. She has an annual 5k run in her honor at Troy University every April.
The family will provide all of the balloons for the event. It will be held at Turner Park in Luverne and begin at 10 a.m.
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