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Track-a-Thon Tackles Brain Cancer

Students of all ages are invited to participate.

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Chantilly High students participating in the 2012 Track-a-Thon at the school.

Area residents can get some exercise, have fun and fight brain cancer, all at the same time, by participating in Chantilly High’s annual Team BT Track-a-Thon. It’s slated for this Saturday, April 20, from 6-9 p.m., at the Chantilly High track.

Team BT is the nonprofit fundraising organization of Fair Lakes resident BethAnn Telford, who’s battling a brain tumor, herself, and will be at the event. All proceeds go to Accelerated Brain Cancer Cure and the National Brain Tumor Society.

The main event, for middle- and high-school students and adults, goes from 7:15-9 p.m. But elementary-school students are invited to join in the fun, too, by participating in the Super Hero Fun Run, on Chantilly High’s tennis courts from 6-7 p.m.

The older participants obtain pledges to walk a certain amount of laps or get per-lap donations. Students will receive Track-A-Thon information flyers, plus parental consent forms and pledge forms so runners may get friends and families to sponsor them.

The Track-a-Thon is open to the public and is being organized by Chantilly senior Samantha Roe, on her school’s SGA executive board, Peer Mediation teacher Shannon Khatcheressian and special-education chair Meredith Norris. Many Chantilly students are participating and, said Roe, “We want the elementary and middle-schools to get involved, too. And people can either walk or run. There’ll also be fun activities for children, including games run by the Peer Mediation group.”

Norris encourages elementary-school students and their teachers to be as creative as they can and dress up as super heroes to “help us fight for the cause.” Each participant will receive a certificate, and gift cards will be awarded to the elementary student who ran the most laps and the student with the most creative super hero costume.

In addition, said Norris, “The coveted, Super Hero Golden Cup trophy will go to the elementary school with the most participants, including staff and students. The school that wins will get to display this golden cup at their school until next year, when the competition is back on — and then the trophy is up for grabs.”

She said organizers are “looking forward to the entire community participating in an evening of fun, education and support for this great cause. There’ll be food, entertainment, live music, face-painting and information booths throughout the event.”

Middle- and high-school students were encouraged to form teams of four, with team names, and to create their own fun and unique uniforms. And to solicit student participation, Khatcheressian’s Peer Mediation students went to Franklin and Rocky Run middle schools last week during lunchtimes to promote the event.

Peer Mediation also promoted the Track-a-Thon throughout Chantilly High by handing out flyers and talking to students during lunches. The group also posted signs and banners around the school.

“The best part about this event is bringing in the community as a whole,” said Roe. “I have classmates whose parents have had brain cancer, so it’s something that affects us all and we want to spread awareness of it. And it’s very exciting to see everyone come together for one, big cause.”

Among children and young adults under the age of 20, brain tumors are the most common form of solid tumor and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths. And both ABC2 and NBTS are nonprofits committed to finding a cure for brain tumors.

ABC2 invests in research targeting the quickest route to a cure. NBTS drives strategic research, provides patient information and advocates for public policies meeting the needs of the brain-tumor community.

Those unable to attend Chantilly’s Track-a-Thon, but wishing to donate to either of the charities, may do so at their Web sites: National Brain Tumor Society, http://www.braintumor.org/ and Accelerated Brain Cancer Cure http://www.abc2.org/. For more information about the Track-a-Thon, contact Meredith Norris at mcnorris@fcps.edu or 703-222-8149.