Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Giving Back

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Giving Back

Article excerpt

In August 2008, Craig and Katie Witsoe were given some frightening news: their 3-year-old son Sean had Medulloblastoma, a tumor on his brain. After extensive research, the family sought treatment at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. For the next year and a half, Sean got some of the best medical care in the world at no cost to his family. On April 3, 2010 - two days after he and his twin brother celebrated their fifth birthday together - Sean died. His friends and family wanted a way to remember Sean and give back to St. Jude. That was the start of Give Hope Run, a 5K run/walk at Burdette Park that drew nearly 1,200 participants in its first year.

This year, about 1,500 runners and walkers showed up at the starting line April 28 for the second annual race. That makes it the largest fundraising event of its kind for St. Jude Hospital.

"We did a ton of research to find Sean the best treatment," said Craig Witsoe. "It turned out that was St. Jude, not just for brain tumors but for almost every other type of childhood cancer. The whole time we had him in treatment, people wanted to know what they could do to help, but there really wasn't anything they could do. So after Sean passed away, the idea came up to do something to raise money for St. Jude."

There are 80 other 5K events held for St. Jude Hospital, but all of those are held in November. But "Give Hope Run" is held in April, the month Sean died, to honor him.

Burdette Park has welcomed the race the last two years, donating space for the staging area and most of the course. Other businesses have donated graphics, timing equipment and more. That help was appreciated by the Give Hope Run organizers, who were mostly novices.

"We had no experience in doing runs, but we just kind of took a team of people that were friends or from businesses around town and got it going," said Craig Witsoe. …

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