C ancer has affected several people in Kacee Davis’ family, and with October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, her children, Kolten, 10, and Zoe, 8, along with some friends, decided they wanted to do something to help.
In August, the Davis children, their neighbors Zacharie, Ryann, and Lakyn Warren, and their cousins Brooklyn and Brody Deniston — all between the ages of 8 and 13 — ran a lemonade stand while their parents held garage sales.
“The first one the kids did for themselves, and the second, they decided to donate the money,” said Kacee Davis, mother of Kolten and Zoe. “Then I said ‘Why don’t we give it to a good foundation?’ I said the Legacy race was coming up, and my kids and the neighbor kids were so excited.”
The Leave a Legacy Run which is today at 7:30 a.m. at Lee Richardson Zoo, kicks off Cancer Awareness Month in Garden City.
The run, first organized in 2007 as the main fundraising event for the foundation, was inspired by Laura Kleysteuber, a 30-year-old mother of two and avid runner who died in 2006 after a six-year battle with brain cancer.
The Davis children and their friends worked together, made a sign showing where the money would go and raised more than $125. For a cup of lemonade, the kids asked for free-will donations rather than charge a set price.
The children even took some of the money from their previous lemonade stand and the garage sales and gave it to the Leave a Legacy Foundation.
“I am extremely proud of them,” Davis said. “It was very special to me and my neighbors that they wanted to do that.”
Paige Kraus, board member for the Leave a Legacy Foundation, said it’s amazing that young children would be selfless enough to spend their time raising money to help fight cancer.
“It is just overwhelming to us, the amount of support and how everyone is touched by cancer. It doesn’t matter your age, or anything about you,” Kraus said. “That’s one common denominator that we all have. We all know someone who has a battle.”
Kolten Davis said donating money to people that could use it made him feel good inside.
“I can’t imagine what they go through,” he said.
In its ninth year, the Leave A Legacy Run includes a 10K and 5K. As of Thursday night, there were about 530 runners registered, and 20 teams, Kraus said, adding that were several more expected to register Friday night during pre-registration. Today’s registration is at 7:30 a .m., with the race beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the zoo.
“We are on track for a record-breaking year, that’s for sure,” Kraus said. “We’re so excited. It’s amazing.”
Last year, a total of 527 registered for the race, the largest number of runners yet.
“It’s an amazing thing how the community has rallied together to support this event,” Kraus said. “All of us can do runs for fun. It is really special when you’re running for something greater than yourself.”
Kraus said some of the money raised by the run will go toward St. Catherine Hospital’s Midwest Cancer Alliance membership, which costs $30,000.
The Alliance helps cancer patients in southwest Kansas consult with oncologists at the University of Kansas Cancer Center. Patients also can participate in clinical trials while staying close to home.
Davis said she has personal ties to the Leave a Legacy Foundation. She was a friend of Kleysteuber and said her sister, Mandi Deniston, Brody and Brooklyn’s mother, had a battle with breast cancer at a young age. Mandi is in remission now.
Also, her children’s grandmother, Janice Stephens “Mimi J,” is fighting a tough cancer battle.
“They were excited to give back to not only Garden City, but anybody that is struggling with cancer because they have seen that our family has gone through it, and they see it’s a struggle. Everybody needs help,” Davis said.
Davis said she and her children plan to participate in the Leave a Legacy run today and wear shirts honoring Mimi J and their Aunt Mandi.
Davis added that her niece and nephew, Brody and Brooklyn, will be running for their mother, Mandi, and the neighbor kids will run for their grandmother, Diana Weaver.
According to the foundation’s sponsor letter, over the past nine years, the Leave a Legacy Foundation has contributed more than $165,000 and has strengthened the cancer fighting resources available in southwest Kansas by financially assisting with the following programs and technologies:
• Two digital mammography machines (St. Catherine Hospital and The Women’s Clinic);
• Midwest Cancer Alliance membership;
• Lymphodema program;
• Radiation oncology shields and equipment;
• Laura’s Touches;
• Fill the Fridge at the Heartland Cancer Center.
Through its Fill the Fridge program, the foundation stocks the refrigerator at the cancer center twice a month with juice, water and snacks for the nurses, doctors, patients and patients’ families. With the Laura’s Touches program, the Leave a Legacy Foundation brings monthly gifts to patients at the cancer center, such as fuel cards, snacks and gift cards.
The foundation also has helped with free cancer screening events in Finney and Grant counties. One of the free screenings the foundation did recently was in September during St. Catherine Hospital’s 85th birthday celebration.
The line stretched from the entrance of the cancer center all the way to the middle of the parking lot of Siena Medical Clinic — an estimated 200 people were waiting in line.
The focus is to keep everything local, Kraus said, noting that the whole foundation is comprised of volunteers.
“It’s just a group of friends, family and loved ones that want to see the legacy of their loved ones live on,” Kraus said.
Cancer awareness events
There are also various events locally to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The Garden City High School cross country teams will be selling pumpkins at 9 a.m. today until they sell out in the USD 457 Educational Support Center parking lot, 1205 Fleming St. The team is selling the pumpkins to raise money for the Leave a Legacy Foundation’s Fill the Fridge program.
On Thursday, the GCHS volleyball team will host its annual Play Pink Night. Games will be at 4, 5 and 6 p.m., with GCHS playing at 4 and 6 p.m. It will be a triangular between GCHS, Ulysses and Dodge City. Both the varsity and junior varsity teams will compete.
Organizers will be selling T-shirts, and balloon memorials will be sold throughout the Play Pink Night, as well as a raffle, bake sale and silent auction. Balloons will be released following the volleyball matches. All proceeds go to the cancer center. A special collection will be taken for the Sarah Jameson fund.