Teams are the most integral part of our annual Reaching for the Cure event. Ranging from corporations, to families, to local schools – not only do these teams play a key role in moving our mission forward, they often know firsthand why funding research is important.

Carter was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on October 2, 2015 – one month before his 5th birthday. He underwent chemotherapy treatments at CHOC for 21 months before finding out he relapsed on July 5, 2017, essentially starting over at day one of 3.5 years of treatment. When he passed suddenly due to a rare infection that occurred as a result of chemotherapy treatment, it sent shock waves to the community and all who knew him, loved him, and cared for him. Carter was a fighter, a leukemia warrior, who faced every battle and challenge head on and usually with a smile. He was a ball of light who lived life with passion, tenacity, and immense love.

Carter StrongEven after he was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of four years, Carter continued to live life to its fullest enjoying baseball, football, Legos, dancing, music, Disneyland, games, school, playing with friends and family, and so much more. His contagious smile and spirit won the hearts of many and his attitude about life and ability to thrive in the face of cancer inspired all. A #CarterStrong community was born.  His family, friends and community now carry on his legacy of strength, kindness, and love by being #CarterStrongForever.

Today Carter’s legacy of caring determination is evident in the community spirit and dedication to advancing treatments and protocols so that no more families have to face this horrible reality.  That is why #CarterStrongForever is doing everything they can to promote childhood cancer research.

Team #CarterStrongForever pours their hearts and souls into everything they do – including setting the bar high with a $35,000 fundraising goal. Not only do they fundraise and raise awareness year round, but they inspire hope in the community and other families facing a cancer diagnosis.

The team leaders of #CarterStrongForever held 23 fundraisers in two months to help meet their goal. Hard work, dedication, spirit and countless hours of planning, promoting and organizing paid off. For this year’s event, they raised over $35,519, completely surpassing their goal! The impact of their effort will make a difference. This means PCRF can fund an entire Emerging Science Research Grant for a whole year. This amount of fundraising means over 700 hours of life saving research, one of these hours could be part of the next breakthrough. Emerging grants encourage and cultivate the best and brightest researchers of the future.

#CarterStrongForever’s Team Captain, Kristin and Carter’s mother, Jamie tell us their story:

How did your Reaching for the Cure team get started?

“About a month after Carter’s passing, I (Kristin) saw on Facebook that Jamie was interested in PCRF’s Reaching for the Cure event. My biggest running goal had been to complete a half-marathon, and I thought that making PCRF as my first half-marathon would make accomplishing that goal even more meaningful. I reached out to Jamie to see if her family was participating and offered that I would love to help with the team. The #CarterStrong community really took everything off from there, as they’ve been above and beyond amazing at supporting Carter and the Ankeny family through everything.”

Why is running the Reaching for the Cure race important to you?

“Building awareness is everything. Reaching for the Cure gives our team members a tangible way to reach out to friends and family, raise funds, and build awareness. It’s awesome having such a large and festive event to look forward to.”

What is your favorite or most memorable fundraiser?Carter Strong Fundraiser at Pinot's Palette

“For me, Kristin, it would have to be our Pinot’s Palette paint night at Bella Terra. This was our final fundraising event of the season, and just earlier that week our team had surpassed a huge fundraising milestone. The paint night was SO FUN, and it was made even better by the fact that we could just enjoy each other’s company and celebrate the team’s accomplishments. Wine and painting didn’t hurt, either!”

“For me, Jamie, I loved the Crush Childhood Cancer Bash that we put together. Basically a Bunco night with a silent auction and raffle. It was a huge undertaking and it was pouring rain outside the night of the event, but it really brought together so many parts of our community under one roof for a night of fun. I loved seeing all the donations we received for raffle and auction items and everyone’s generosity and hard work that came together to make the event our most successful fundraiser!”

Highlight a team member:

“Stacey Delpit is AMAZING. She’s beyond creative and has so many incredible fundraising ideas. She single-handedly took charge of anything team spirit related, and it paid off on race day. Our team area was so full of spirit, and she thought of so many details to bring excitement to the team and to add to the energy that is characteristic of the #CarterStrong community.”

Carter Strong Forever TeamWhy is raising awareness important to you?

“We raise awareness because awareness inspires ACTION. Before becoming a cancer parent I didn’t know the stats about childhood cancer and the lack of funding. For each person that becomes aware, like a small boat in the ocean, sending big waves into motion… that one person could be motivated to share, to take action and to find a cure for childhood cancer.”

What motivates your team to continue to raise funds?

“Our son Carter. When Carter was diagnosed with ALL he was given a 90% chance of complete cure. Even after he relapsed he was given a 75-80% chance of complete cure, but it wasn’t enough, and it wasn’t the cancer that he died from, it was side effects of the treatment protocol to help him beat cancer. For Carter, who had a treatable form of cancer, it still wasn’t enough. So we direct our attention into awareness and raising funds so we can CHANGE the outcomes of childhood cancer and find a CURE. We are motivated to find a cure and better treatment options so that no one feels the loss like we do every day since he passed away.”

Describe what you hope to see in the future for kids fighting cancer.

“Non-chemotherapy interventions and complete CURE!”

The Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation is proud to recognize the #CarterStrongForever team and their elite fundraising efforts. Thank you to all Reaching for the Cure teams who support PCRF and make a difference for kids fighting cancer. You are part of the cure.