Two Lowcountry events this month will bring a spotlight to the No. 1 cause of disease-related death among children: cancer.
About 13,400 children between birth and age 19 are diagnosed with cancer each year. Just at the Medical University of South Carolina, about 60 children are diagnosed annually.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, a national effort aimed at bringing attention to the need for more support for childhood cancer research. Locally, Chase After a Cure is hosting events this month to raise awareness and money for childhood cancer research efforts at the Medical University of South Carolina Children’s Hospital.
For the founder of Chase After a Cure, it's personal.
The Summerville nonprofit was started by Whitney Ringler and her family after her son, Chase, was given a 30 percent chance of survival after being diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma in 2007. Chase survived — thanks to new developments in treatment and research — and is now a healthy 8-year-old and a symbol of hope for childhood cancer awareness in Charleston.
"Having those tools available (to fight childhood cancer) locally is very important," Ringler said. Now, that's Ringler's full-time mission to help fund childhood cancer research.
"Getting the community involved in September is our goal," she said. "Let's do it for the kids."
Compared to adult cancer, childhood cancers are rare. Even though childhood cancer incidence rates continue to increase slightly each year, they still represent less than 1 percent of all new cancer diagnoses. That means funding for childhood cancer research is limited. In particular, neuroblastoma — which has one of the lowest survival rates — receives very little attention because the population base with this form of cancer isn't profitable enough for pharmaceutical companies to develop new treatments, according to the nonprofit.
Summerville nonprofit Chase After a Cure will host two events:
Chase After a Cure Golf Tournament opens with registration 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, at Patriots Point Links in Mount Pleasant. Lunch will be provided by 17 North Roadside Kitchen. Shotgun start for this captain’s choice tournament is 12:30 p.m. Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place winners. Cost is $100 per person or $375 for a foursome.
Hole Lot of Fun is 2-8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30, at Blackbeard’s Cove, 3255 Highway 17 North in Mount Pleasant. Bring the whole family for unlimited golf, go-karts, jump castles, a climbing wall and arcade games. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance at www.chaseafteracure.com or at the door. Food and adult beverages will be available.
For more information on these events or to register, visit www.chaseafteracure.com.