Chasing Cancer Away 5K coming Saturday
by Megan Thornton
March 01, 2013 12:00 AM | 2286 views | 1 1 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Runners will flock to downtown Canton on Saturday morning for the Chasing Cancer Away 5K, a run in memory of Abigail Kelley, a 9-year-old who died last June after a long battle with brain cancer.

Abigail’s former neighbor, Creekview High School senior John Campbell, said he decided to put on the race for his senior project.

The Ball Ground resident said he and his mother, Angela Campbell, came up with the idea the night before he was required to turn in his project proposal in October.

“We were thinking back to when my sister did her senior project,” the 18-year-old said. “My sister did research on Abigail’s treatment. We thought, why not do a 5K?”

Campbell said planning the race on his own has been very stressful with having to coordinate the race route and knocking on doors to get sponsorships on top of his heavy course load of Advanced Placement classes at school.

“But it’s definitely worth it,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of fun planning it.”

His mother said her son raised about $6,200 in sponsorships from local businesses and more than 400 participants have already registered.

All proceeds will go toward Cure it for Kids, a nonprofit foundation established in honor of Abigail that funds pediatric brain tumor research at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

During her short life, Abigail underwent six surgeries, chemotherapy treatments and endless doctors’ visits.

“Just seeing what she went through … she wasn’t able to do normal things kids do,” Campbell said. “It just made me want to do something to help.”

Campbell said he hopes to raise over $5,000 through the event.

Additionally, the Kelley family will attend and Abigail’s mother will speak after the race, Campbell said.

Both parents, Amy Fowler Kelley and the Rev. Shannon Kelley have given their support throughout Campbell’s project, he said.

“They told me I should be proud of myself,” Campbell said. “They told me it was a blessing. But I’ve really enjoyed doing all of it.”

After graduation, Campbell said he plans to work toward becoming a dermatologist but remains undecided on his college choice.

The race will begin at 8 a.m. at the intersection of Elizabeth Street and East Marietta Street in downtown Canton. Online registration is closed, but runners can still register on race day for $35.

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March 01, 2013
I am so proud of my nephew, John Campbell! My son, his friend, and I will be traveling from Greenwood and Columbia, SC to participate in and volunteer for this race. I have kept up with Abigail's story through her Caring Bridge page. The strength and inspiration of her family is truly amazing. Let's hope for a wonderful day tomorrow and that one day there will be a cure for childhood cancer.
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