LAWRENCE, Kan. (KSNT) – A group of friends is using their passion for running to support St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and a local girl named Sarah Burrichter.
Sarah is 16 years old and a bright and happy high schooler who loves spending time with family in Lawrence.
When she was four years old, she was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor.
“Nothing else seems to matter at that moment. You just want to get to the place that’s going to take care of it and give your daughter the best chance of living a normal and healthy life,” Sarah’s mom, Kristine Burrichter said.
Today, her prognosis is good because of the treatment she gets at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Her mom said the doctors and nurses there who have treated Sarah all these years are a lot more like family.
“She doesn’t think of it as a hospital, she doesn’t think of it as a negative place. It is a welcoming environment where kids are kids,” Kristine Burrichter said.
Kristine’s good friend Dana King has been on this journey with their family since the beginning.
“When the news came that it was a brain tumor, we were all just completely shocked,” King said.
King and Burrichter were in the same running group for years that met just for fun, but after Sarah’s diagnosis and a trip to the St. Jude marathon in Memphis, Dana and a couple of other friends formed team “Sarah is our Superhero” to help Sarah and other kids in their fight.
“Sarah’s our passion and why we’re doing this, but it becomes much larger than that when you see the kids and the families,” Lisa Leroux-Smith, one of Kristine’s friends said.
Years later, the marathon is still impacting them in a big way.
“There are signs that will be, you know, if I can do two rounds of chemo, you can do this. And you pass those signs and you’re giving the kids high fives. It’s so emotional,” King said.
The team has raised $50,000 for families like Sarah’s so far, giving parents like Sarah and her family the chance to focus on their child getting better and not have the burden of medical bills.
With that in mind, team Sarah is raising the bar this year with a goal of $20,000 but said fundraising has been a challenge because of the pandemic.
“It doesn’t matter what’s going on. St. Jude’s is still trying to operate and people are still trying to research and childhood cancer is still a thing,” Susan Williams, one of Kristine’s friends said. “We need to continue to do this even if it means it’s harder.”
The race has turned virtual this year because of the coronavirus, so team Sarah plans to partake in the event that way instead.
To help them reach their goal, click here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.