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June 3, 2014
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Going strong at 18, Paige’s Butterfly Run benefits pediatric cancer research, care at Upstate Golisano

SYRACUSE, N.Y.— Paige’s Butterfly Run turns 18 this Saturday, June 7, and expects to flirt with the $2 million mark for total money raised since the event began.

Paige’s Butterfly Run, which includes a Caterpillar Crawl (for children 5 and under, free), a 3K Fun Run Walk and the 5K race, opens for registration and packet pick up at 7 a.m. outside the Hanley Federal Building in downtown Syracuse. The race winds its way through the downtown, along the Creek Walk and out toward the Inner Harbor before heading back.

Through 2013, the Run has raised more than $1.7 million to benefit pediatric research and cancer care at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital.

Especially impressive is the more than 2,500 people each year who lace up their sneakers and participate in Paige’s Butterfly Run.

Chris Arnold, for whose daughter the race is named, attributes the race’s popularity with the need to continue to fund the fight against cancer.

“Pediatric cancer is a many-headed beast that is not close to being solved or eliminated, so the need for new therapies and support of patients continues. I think that is something the public understands and wants to be a part of.”

Toni Gary, director of community relations and development for the Foundation for Upstate and Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, says Paige’s Butterfly Run is one of the most important fundraisers for pediatric cancer at the hospital, especially since it touches patients and families in so many ways.

“A hallmark of Paige’s Butterfly Run is its commitment to cancer patients and their families,” Gary said. “The event raises much-needed support that is not otherwise available for families, who are trying to cope with life after a child’s cancer diagnosis.”

Through the Foundation for Upstate, money raised through Paige’s Butterfly Run provides patients and families with comfort kits, gift cards for food and gas to those traveling far and other amenities or financial support to help meet needs of a life that has suddenly been turned upside down.

“Chris [Arnold] knows what families are going through,” Gary said. “He knows the help that can make difference.”

Arnold and his family understand firsthand the toll on families that comes with a child’s cancer diagnosis. Daughter Paige Yeomans Arnold, a Palmer Elementary School student in Baldwinsville, died in 1994 after battling leukemia for a year.

That’s why the Run also funds pediatric cancer research, because Arnold wants all children to win the battle with cancer. He estimates that in the 17-county area served by the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, 50 new children are diagnosed each year with cancer.

“We need to fund cancer research ourselves, because not enough money is allocated for this cause,” he said. Arnold is determined to make a difference and he’s finding unique ways to raise that money and awareness. Just this year, the Paige board incorporated Paige’s Pajamarama, where schoolchildren make a small donation for the opportunity to wear their pajamas to school, even teachers have jumped at the chance to preside in class wearing PJs. “This all makes a difference,” he said.

And it does. In addition, to patient amenities and cancer research, Paige’s Butterfly Run also raises money to purchase specialized equipment, support the Child Life Program, and helped build of the new Upstate Cancer Center.

“It’s an outstanding event for us in every way,” said Gary, of the Butterfly Run. “It brings the community together in pursuit of our common fight against cancer.

“We cannot thank the local community and the Paige’s Butterfly Run board enough for this nearly two decade relationship that makes a difference in the lives of so many of our patients and families,” Gary continued.

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