JackFest raises money to support the fight against pediatric cancer
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Sunday marks the third annual JackFest, which raises money and awareness for pediatric cancer, and is a day for such children to just be kids again.
"So much of their life revolves around coming to the clinic, or being admitted to the hospital or they are at home feeling puny after chemotherapy. This is a chance for them to just be themselves and be around other kids," Michael Engel, Chief of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at the University of Virginia Children's Hospital, said.
Jack Callahan was diagnosed with metastatic cancer at the age of three. He and his family had to briefly move away from home for treatment.
Jack's father, Michael Callahan, says they were inspired to host this event by all the help they had throughout Jack's journey.
"We had to move away from Charlottesville to go to Philadelphia for eight months for him to get treatment and we stayed at a Ronald McDonald House at that time, he was also treated at the University of Virginia. They did an incredible job and saved his life. So now we are paying it forward,” he said.
Now, Jack was able to participate in all of the activities and celebrate his health, but his favorite part of the day was the races, including a one-mile run and parent-child relay.
“I like watching people race,” Jack said.
The funds raised go toward improving UVA's pediatric immunotherapy and bone marrow transplant services as well as to the Ronald McDonald House to help families who travel for treatment.
"We are one of the beneficiaries so it's just a transformational thing for us. It raises wonderful funds and just the energy that goes with it. It’s just a great family-friendly community event," Rita Ralston, Executive Director of Ronald McDonald House, said.
JackFest also sells t-shirts and other apparel items throughout the year for UVA and the Ronald McDonald House. For more information, you can visit www.jackfest.net.