Realizing Futures

Reaching for the Cure- a symbol of community and compassion.

By Erin Arreola, Senior Director of Events

I am so proud to share that our Reaching for the Cure event raised over $433,000 for its 24th year with a brand-new presenting sponsor, AutoNation Toyota Irvine, 2,300 participants, 300 volunteers, 70 fundraising teams, 40 sponsors and vendors, 27 states, 2 countries – all for 1 incredible mission.

This event is more than just a race – it is PCRF’s largest awareness event, drawing thousands of community members to shine a light on the importance of childhood cancer research. And boy – did our community show up for these kids!!

There are countless stories woven together to create our Reaching for the Cure community. From the volunteers who dedicate their time and talents in preparation to the corporate sponsors stepping up to fill the funding gap, to the families grieving the loss of their children, children learning philanthropy to support kids just like them, to the athletes motivated by the finish line dedicating their miles to these little warriors. Each of these stories are like threads woven together in the warmest blanket of compassion that we intentionally wrap around families walking hard battles every day.

Putting the break on pediatric cancer.

From the moment AutoNation Toyota Irvine jumped in to define this partnership, it was clear this meant more to them than selling more cars – it was about building community and supporting families right here in Orange County. The entire team’s support of PCRF is a direct reflection of the company’s overall leadership in funding research and treatment aimed at driving out cancers of all types through their DRVPNK mission I enjoyed working with the GM, Mark, and am thrilled that he and his team are committed to supporting this event for years to come!

Best burritos at the finish line.

It was a treat to feature Wahoo’s new plant-based burritos at our finish line for all our runners, volunteers, and attendees this year. Not only were the burritos delicious, but it was one of the most talked-about finish line features from our participants. A fantastic post-race meal that earned praise from vegans and carnivores alike and even had the kids lining up!

Wahoo’s has been involved with PCRF and the local community in so many ways. What they donate in the form of meals is so generous – then you layer in what Wing contributes through media coverage – the value of that exposure for an organization like PCRF is intangible. It shows our community that they are seen, and they matter. I was overjoyed to hear about PCRF on KLOS and KTLA, thanks to Wing and his California Love Drop team!  

Reaching far and wide.

There’s one thing I can take away from the pandemic and appreciate – it’s that we’ve expanded our reach and engaged further than ever before with this event. In large thanks to our corporate teams at Koeller Nebeker Carlson Haluck, LLP, LBA Realty, and Ware Malcomb for inviting offices from across the nation to join in on this initiative – we had participants span 31 states and Mexico! There are no boundaries when it comes to curing childhood cancer.

Light in the darkness.

Families join us at the start line in all different phases of their journey. Some have just started treatment, some are coming up for air after rounds of chemo, some are celebrating survivorship, and some are memorializing the children they have lost. These touching quotes will stay with me forever:

A grieving Father said, “Being here is a reminder there are others who have walked in my shoes. We truly are not alone in our grief.”

An Aunt shared, “This is a place where I can share her life and her story and not feel like our grief is bringing others down.”

A Mom who said, “My daughter really won’t be forgotten. She’s here. She’s everywhere.
A friend looking at the names and faces of children, reminded, “This is why we will keep doing this, every year, for as long as you host this event.

Childhood cancer is not rare.

The centerpiece to the Reaching for the Cure was our Warrior Wall, standing at 8 feet tall, 30 feet wide, and featuring the names of 728 childhood cancer warriors. I watched as parents and children found their names, posing for photos with smiles and affirmation on their faces. It did not matter if that child’s name represented survivorship or loss – they were seen! Childhood cancer is not rare. It affects 400,000 families every year. It is my mission to make sure families feel seen and affirmed, and their truth is reflected in the fundraisers and events I am a part of at PCRF.

Vote Best of OC

There are hundreds, if not thousands, more threads to this community that I could share with you today. If there’s one thing each of these has in common, it is that the Reaching for the Cure is more than a race, more than the miles ahead of you – it represents a community of cure seekers. Every step and every dollar ripples out to more awareness and funds for innovative treatments that will improve pediatric care for generations to come!

So I ask that you join us in our next Reaching for the Cure chapter by using your voting power to vote “Reaching for the Cure” as the Best Run/Race in OC Register’s 2022 Best of OC. We could not do what we do without your support.

Make a Difference Today !

When you are young and healthy, it never occurs to you that in a single second your whole life could change. – Annette Funicello