Community To Unite Against Childhood Diseases

Runners participate in last year's Kolors for Kallie 5K color run. P-J file photo

LAKEWOOD — “Fight like a girl!”

That’s the motto of the Kallie’s Krusade Foundation, which will be hosting the sixth annual Kallie’s Krusade Fundraising Event. This year’s festivities will occur Monday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lakewood Rod & Gun Club.

“We will support the fighters, admire the survivors, honor the taken and never ever give up hope.”

That’s the sentiment of event organizers, including Shane and Tara Swan, who lost their daughter Kallie Swan to acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the age of 3. She died May 6, 2015, but the Krusade began much earlier when in 2013 21-month-old Kallie Swan was diagnosed with the cancer.

What began as a means of raising money for the Swans to take care of their child transformed into a community effort that seeks to raise awareness for childhood cancer and other diseases and raise funds for local families living with children stricken with the maladies. September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. A ratio of one or two children out of 10,000 born every year in the United States has cancer.

Tara Swan said bringing the community together to raise awareness of pediatric cancer has been very positive, with the Krusade itself growing in attendance every year it’s been hosted. She said now most people know what it stands for and associates it with Kallie Swan.

“For some people, it’s just a regular part of their holiday weekend,” Tara Swan said. “We greatly appreciate the continued support we get from the community; I can’t even describe the feeling.”

There are many ways to get involved and help raise money for struggling families. Registration for all special events can be done at www.kallieskrusade.org/fundraising_event.

The Kolors for Kallie 5K Run/Walk will be an untimed, family-friendly color run with a 1-mile option. Color zones will be spread throughout Summit and Terrace Avenue. Extra color packets can be purchased at on-site registration beginning at 9 a.m. The first wave of runners will hit the ground running at 10:30 a.m. The run is $25 for runners aged 13 and older, $10 for runners aged 12 and younger and $75 max for participating families of up to five people. There is a $20 entry fee for teammates who participate with a school team, and there will be special recognition for the schools that have the most participants.

Kruise for Kallie is a motorcycle ride around Chautauqua Lake that will begin at the Rod & Gun Club. The 60-mile ride will include an ice cream pit stop in Bemus Point. On-site registration begins at 9 a.m., and the ride begins at 10 a.m.

For those who pre-register, the Kruise is $10 for a driver and $20 with a passenger. For those that register the day of the event, registration costs $20 per driver and $30 with a passenger.

Korn Hole for Kallie is a double-elimination tournament with games played to 21 points. The first 32 teams to register are accepted, and on-site registration will occur at 9:30 a.m. Bags fly at 10 a.m. The cost per team is $30, and teams will be competing for cash prizes for first, second and third place.

The Krusade will also feature Kallie’s Karnival full of interactive games, a photo booth, petting zoo, bounce houses, dunk tank, face painting, princess and superhero meet-and-greet and prizes. Food will be provided from VMW Channel 20 Chicken Barbeque, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer and Alex’s Lemonade Stand from the Foundation for Childhood Cancer. Sausages, hot dogs and chips will also be sold. DJ Payne will perform from 10 a.m. to noon, and a live band will follow from noon to 2 p.m. There will also be auctions and raffles.

Anyone eligible is encouraged to make a UNYTS blood donation at the event as well. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 512-7940 or visiting the unyts.org website with sponsor code 000158. Walk-ins are welcome and all donors are entered into a raffle. Those who choose to register as bone marrow donors with Be the Match will also be entered into a raffle. A donated grill and signed Buffalo Bills helmet along with other items will be raffled.

“It’s something we continue to do because it’s very near and dear to our hearts,” Swanson said.

Items such as small toys, crayons and clothing accessories can be donated to the Joy Jar drive sponsored by Never Ever Give Up. Monetary donations are being accepted at Kallie’s Krusade, P.O. Box 224 Falconer, N.Y., 14733. Updates for Kallie’s Krusade and the foundation can be found at Kallie’s Krusade on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

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