On April 28, Chris Morton will wake up before 3 a.m. to lead a team of Hikers on a 28.3 mile trek, but his team’s journey will start long before the big day. Starting this month, he’ll, lead local hikers on training hikes in the Triangle area in order to prepare them for the miles, and to make sure the Foothills Trail Ultimate Hike is completed by sunset.
In its eighth year, CureSearch’s Ultimate Hike is the original 28.3 mile endurance fundraiser, and the only national endurance hiking fundraiser to fight cancer, the number one disease killer of children.
It’s a big commitment to coach a team, but Chris has all the motivation he needs and is accustom to long journeys. His daughter Violet was diagnosed with a rare liver cancer, hepatoblastoma, just before her first birthday. The family celebrated her special day at Duke’s pediatric intensive care unit, while Violet received her first chemo treatment. It was the first of many treatments and the beginning of a journey that would last years.
“In 2016, we could finally say Violet passed the ‘5 years off treatment’ milestone – that’s a long time to worry,” said Chris, “But, in a few days we’ll be celebrating her eighth birthday, knowing she is 100% cured.”
Chris and his wife, Candi, family became involved in CureSearch’s Ultimate Hike while Violet was still in treatment, completing the 28.3 mile trek as a couple, and they’ve continued their involvement ever since. The event funds research driven by CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, an organization that focuses on finding more cures and safer treatments. Although Violet’s treatment was a success, Chris knows more research is needed.
“I think about Violet’s little friends from treatment who didn’t make it. I think about the debilitating long-term effects that many of the survivors will have. It is our duty to try to reduce that suffering,” he said.
For more information about CureSearch’s Ultimate Hike visit ultimatehike.org.
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