UofSC med students lead successful fundraiser for Curing Kids Cancer | Columbia

(lr) Event organizers Brandon Gettleman and Kirklen Petersen and Curing Kids Cancer Development Director Lauren Korthoff. Photos by Allen Wallace

Medical school is grueling and can easily take up all of a student’s time, but a local group of would-be doctors has made room to go beyond that. Out of a desire to help even before their name is followed by MD, they have raised more than $15,000 to support research to cure children battling cancer.

The Run with All Your Heart 5k was made possible thanks to the dedication of a group of students from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, led by Brandon Gettleman and Kirklen Petersen. They teamed up with the nonprofit Curing Kids Cancer to host the event Saturday morning in Segra Park. Proceeds will go towards developing a therapeutic program in Columbia, giving pediatric cancer patients access to novel therapies developed both nationally and locally.

“As a parent, you can imagine that it is quite devastating to hear that your child will not be able to survive due to a lack of money,” Finnian Owen said on Saturday.

Owen’s parents, Grainne and Clay Owen, founded Curing Kids Cancer in 2005 after Finn’s brother, Killian, lost his life to leukemia at age 9. Doctors told the family that a drug that could have saved his life was not available in time due to a lack of funding.

Curing Kids Cancer has raised more than $20 million since its inception.

“My role is to benefit from what Curing Kids Cancer is doing and what all of you are doing,” said Dr. Stuart Cramer of Prisma Health Saturday. “Every day I get to try to cure a child of cancer and there is nothing better than that.”

Gettleman and Petersen and their fellow students worked extremely hard planning their first event, and with over 100 runners and dozens of other spectators, it was a huge success. The event also included a silent auction, cornhole and lots of games and activities for kids (including some of the cancer fighters who were the reason for it all) in the stadium hall.

The students found plenty of helpers on site who were willing to support the charity by donating auction items, working at the event or sponsoring the event. Sponsors such as Cyclebar, Medcare Urgent Care, Kendra Scott, Clean Juice, Tasty as Fit, Yarborough Insurance Agency and the UofSC School of Medicine also had booths at the event.

More information about curing childhood cancer is available at curingkidscancer.org.

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