The first annual Childhood Cancer Awareness Walk is taking steps toward raising awarness of the battle many children fight. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 14 at Genesis Health Club. The walk will end at the Downtown Plaza.

“This is to get the word out, kids fight hard,” said event organizer Gloria Schroder. "Several of my co-workers had mentioned to me that they were not aware of childhood cancer until they had seen the commercials for St. Jude's Hospital and had been on the journey with Kaiden Schroeder.”

Kaiden, a McPherson resident, is diagnosed with ALL, Acute Lyphoblastic Leukemia, and has been in and out of the hospital several times for blood transfusions.

Schroeder and Deb Clark had previously organized an American Red Cross blood drive in honor of Kaiden. They wanted to reach a goal of 50 donations and 28 from the blood drive, but instead, they reached 71 donations.

“This helps about 215 patients,” Schroder explained. “The blood drive was organized because the family wanted to give back and Kaiden has received more than 100 plus units of blood and not including platelets. This is also very close to the heart of Deb Clark, who lost her brother to childhood cancer.”

September is childhood cancer awareness month and Schroeder wants to do all she can to bring awareness to the community.

Guest speakers, refreshments and more information on childhood cancer will all be at the event. Speakers include Heidi Feyerherm with The Love Chloe Foundation from Salina. The Love Chloe Foundation was created because Feyerherm also lost her daughter to childhood cancer.

Through the foundation’s program, children battling cancer receive a gift of a monkey, reading materials, and other items to teach other children about cancer and how it affects their friends and family. The monkey acts as a companion to the child and is also a useful resource to teach classrooms and others about childhood cancer.

At the event, there will also be a moment of prayer for the children and families and a send off of balloons to honor those children who have fought and won the battle; and for all those who have lost the battle. Unfortunately, two children in McPherson lost their battle to ALL.

"We will also have a proclamation signed declaring that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month for McPherson," Schroeder said.

Schroder explained that childhood cancer is only given four percent for research and wants to expand that number.

Schroeder encourages residents to attend this event because they will not only create bonds between families, but it will also show families how much the community of McPherson is supporting them on their journeys.

Schroeder is hopeful this will be a success and wants to continue the walk in the future to support little ones battling cancer in the community.

Contact Brooke Haas by email bhaas@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow her on Twitter @MacSentinel.