Several members of the Marple Newtown community pledged to do the unthinkable–run 26 miles in Orlando, FL, in support of local 9-year-old student Charlotte McAuliffe, a cancer survivor.
Charlotte, a third grader at Russell Elementary School, was diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of 3 but through rigorous treatment and approximately 17 surgeries, she's overcome her battle to the cancer.
Ambassdors to Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, the McAuliffes have been involved with fundraising for childhood cancer over the years but this year was the first year the family has decided to run a marathon in support of Charlotte and childhood cancer awareness.
And so the team, Charlotte's Lemonheads, of about 10 adults and six children–consisting of family members, friends and members of the school community–flew down to Walt Disney World for their annual marathon weekend.
Together, with Russell kindergarten teacher Tracy Paine and her family, Marple Newtown High School Athletic Director Dennis Reardon and his family, the McAuliffes and a few other family members successfully completed the marathon, half marathon and the childrens' run. Marple Newtown High School Principal Ray McFall and his wife had registered and pledged last year to also run in the race but due to medical conditions, were unable to participate.
For many, including Charlotte's mom Sherry-Lee, it was their first marathon ever.
"It was very rough," admits Sherry-Lee about the marathon. "I'm glad that it's over but I'm glad that I did it. It was an awesome weekend."
Sherry-Lee had the opportunity to see Charlotte and little sister Emily at the 10-mile marker and said the kids were "excited" to see her run, but were excited the entire weekend.
"They were really exicted to keep running into the Paines and the Reardons with their kids," recounted Sherry-Lee.
Charlotte's Lemonheads were able to raise $4,953 for Alex's Lemonade, surpassing their goal of $2,000.
In September, Russell school made bat-o-lanterns, an idea that was formed by Paine, in order to support Charlotte's Lemonheads and Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The school sold 800 bat-o-lanterns, raising $2,158.60 towards the cause. The check was presented to Liz Scott, founder of Alex's Lemonade, in October.