On the eve of the 10th anniversary of 14-year-old Andrew McDonough’s death from leukemia, 1,600 runners and walkers supported his legacy by taking part in the annual B+ 5K Run/Walk Fighting Childhood Cancer.
The June 21 race took off at Salesianum School, which has provided years of support to the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation ever since Andrew, was diagnosed with the disease as a freshman. Many of the runners were high school students and young Sallies alum, who say they live by the school’s motto, “Take hold and never let go.” And perhaps fittingly the race was won by a young athlete – 16-year-old Connor Nisbet of Wilmington with an outstanding 5.16/mile pace and a finishing time of 16.22.1.
There were also dozens of families who ran to support loved ones who have been stricken with childhood cancer or have lost their battle with the disease, including George Huhn, who with his family ran to honor his son Leon, who died in March at the age of 13. “What matters most is that you are here today. Because by being here today, you’re helping kids and their families run the hardest race of their lives – to beat childhood cancer.”
Parts of the race course were dotted with posters showing pictures of their youthful faces and descriptions of their lives and their brave fights with cancer.
The weather wasn’t promising as race time neared. But after a little rain, the skies cleared just before the start, leaving runners with a beautiful rainbow at the finish line. The 11th annual race raised $100,000 for the B+ Foundation.
The race was special to Andrew’s father Joe McDonough because it was 10 years ago this summer that his son died. “To see that his legacy lives on – and it’s not dwindling, it’s growing. We are now the largest provider of financial assistance to families with kids with cancer in the entire country. It doesn’t replace my son, but it’s really nice to see people come out here – some that knew my boy and a lot who did have have the privilege to know him.”