Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital receives $210,000 donation from Paige’s Butterfly Run
Today, the Upstate Foundation accepted a $210,000 donation from Paige’s Butterfly Run. The organization raised money through the annual 5K, Pajamarama, and Pedaling 4 Paige. Since 1997, Paige’s Butterfly Run has raised more than $3.5 million dollars in support of pediatric care at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital and the Waters Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders at Upstate.
After 22 years, Chris Arnold—president, race director, and Paige’s father—is still going strong. He sees his daughter in every young patient treated at Upstate’s Waters Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders. “This effort is close to my heart because I see my own child and my family’s struggle to make sense of what doesn’t make sense. I remember people trying to make things better for our family back when Paige was diagnosed, and I’m trying to do the same for these families today,” said Arnold. Arnold knows it’s a struggle to have a child facing cancer and this is what pushes him forward year after year.
Without losing momentum, Arnold has consistently added fundraising events to the calendar each year. Paige’s Butterfly Run, held in Syracuse each June, boasted 1,600 runners and 700 walkers this year, and Arnold added a wheelchair class to the 5K event. Donations were further boosted through a new Pajamarama competition between Liverpool and Cicero-North Syracuse school districts, and Pedaling 4 Paige events held at Elevate locations in Liverpool and DeWitt.
Contributions, managed by the Upstate Foundation, are used to support the immediate needs of patients and their families through the Family Assistance Fund, which helps with daily incidentals, such as gas and food. “The Upstate Foundation is a proud and longtime supporter of Paige’s Butterfly Run,” said Toni Gary, assistant vice president of community relations and development at the Upstate Foundation. “The burdens of so many local children and families facing the challenges of pediatric cancer care are eased by the efforts of our community donors.”
Paige’s Pediatric Cancer Research Fund will cover the costs of opening and maintaining the Children’s Oncology Group study for patients with standard risk acute lymphocytic leukemia, and the Support for Kids with Hemophilia Fund will continue to provide support for Upstate’s pediatric hemophilia patients.
Melanie Comito, MD, professor of pediatrics and division chief of the Waters Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders at Upstate, says the financial support from Paige’s Butterfly Run is instrumental in her team’s work. “Paige’s Butterfly Run allows children to receive care and participate in groundbreaking research close to home, eliminating the burden of travel for many families with sick children,” said Comito. “In addition to the emotional toll of hearing your child has cancer, we cannot underestimate the financial cost of childhood cancer. Donations from the Paige’s Butterfly Run organization help families pay for gas and food, freeing up funds for medications, for example.” Comito says each newly-diagnosed child and their family receives a backpack filled with support, and credits Upstate’s multi-disciplinary team approach and psychosocial supports for helping patients.
Arnold recognized the Upstate Foundation’s partnership over the last two decades and reaffirmed his commitment to Upstate’s pediatric cancer patients. “With 60 to 70 new pediatric cancer patients diagnosed at Upstate each year, I’m grateful for this partnership so we are able to help for years to come. Paige’s Butterfly Run will continue to pull it together for this community as long as we are able to,” said Arnold.
A portion of the donation—$26,000 in total—was raised through Arnold’s work with Barnes and Noble bookstore in DeWitt.
Paige’s Butterfly Run 2020 will be held Sunday, June 6 and will include a U.S.A. Track and Field-certified 5K race through downtown Syracuse, a 3K fun fitness walk/run, the Caterpillar Crawl for kids five and under, Kids Zone, a raffle tent, and Courage Corner. Pedaling 4 Paige will be held March 21 at Elevate Fitness.