To raise funds and awareness supporting the research and treatment of childhood cancer.
To those sharing this same goal,
My name is Kevin Gunns and I am the founder of “Compete for a Cause”. I am lucky enough to be married to my high school sweetheart and have two wonderful little girls. I am also married to a cancer survivor that, at 22, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. At the time, her doctor’s said this is “the type of cancer you want to get” with the “ease” of treatment and low recurrence rate. After a twelve year fight that included five surgeries, an initial recommendation to not have children, a near tracheostomy, counseling, high levels of anxiety, and constant “what-if’s”, we’ve come to a different conclusion. No one wants “cancer” as a diagnosis, but what results after that diagnosis will change your life forever. How it changes your life, is up to you.
My wife has been a 6 th grade teacher for 15 years and has made a tremendous impact as an educator both in and out of the classroom. I think one of her greatest impacts came in 2011 when a young lady who had recently been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor was assigned to her classroom. This student had a routine MRI as a result of a skiing accident to confirm the fall had no internal damage. Instead, the family was told she had cancer. Can you imagine? Cancer. And not a “type you want to get” nor at an age that the patient can fully understand what this means. This moved me. This moved us. She had multiple blood transfusions, 30 radiation treatments, and 48 weeks of chemotherapy. I immediately thought of my own daughter and learned so much more about the impact this diagnosis has on not only a husband and wife, but on a mom, dad, brother, classroom, school, and community. It was amazing and devastating all at once. My wife and I were so wrapped up in our own situation that we never imagined the impact a cancer diagnosis has on children and their families every single day…in every single community across this country. If there is ever a group of people that have done nothing to receive this kind of diagnosis, it’s the children of our world.
The facts related to childhood cancer are daunting. Worldwide, a child is diagnosed every three minutes with cancer. More children are lost to cancer in the U.S. than any other disease. The most troubling to us? All types of childhood cancers combined receive only 4% of the U.S. federal funding for cancer research. Only 4%!!! How can this be? A child has the rest of their life ahead of them when a diagnosis is made. A child has made no life choices that make them more susceptible to the disease. A child with an eventual “cancer-free” diagnosis has a lifetime to motivate, inspire, and be a positive role model for all those facing similar obstacles down the road. I would even claim a diagnosis in a child has more of an impact in a family and that family’s community than that in an adult. As a doctor once said to one of our board members, “When you save a child, you save a lifetime.” This is why we “Compete for a Cause”.
Our board consists of myself, Pam Duren (mother of the young lady I mention above) and Lisa Dippel (also a mother of a cancer survivor). We’ve grown from a small non-profit that raised $700 in 2012 to a Lansing-area event that has raised nearly $200,000 to date. We thank you for visiting our site and encourage you to explore ways you can add your time, talents or treasures to help us “Compete for a Cause”.