This time last year, Doctor Toni Petrillo was training to lace up her hiking boots for CureSearch’s Ultimate Hike. On a daily basis, Petrillo treats children in the pediatric intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital of Atlanta, but she felt she could do more, so she signed up for the ultimate adventure – hiking 28.3 miles in one day to raise critical funds for children’s cancer research.
“As a pediatric physician, I see far too many kids and their families’ lives changed by childhood cancer. Moreover, as an ICU doctor, I see more than my share of deaths. While my team and I do everything we can fighting for these kids daily in the trenches, it just isn’t enough,” Petrillo said.
The Ultimate Hike raises lifesaving funds for children’s cancer research driven by CureSearch for Children’s Cancer. CureSearch funds research designed to address the biggest barriers to finding cures, as well as safer treatments. Today, one in eight children diagnosed with cancer doesn’t survive, and 60% of survivors will face devastating, lifelong side effects from their disease or treatment.
Dr. Petrillo was joined by dozens of Ultimate Hikers, each with their own story. Some are parents of children with cancer, some are endurance athletes looking for a new challenge, and others who took on the hike on as a New Year’s resolution. “You will meet extraordinary people along the way,” says Petrillo. “You’ll hear stories of courage and survival. Stories that inspire you to keep going.”
Petrillo first heard of the Ultimate Hike several years ago, but it wasn’t until three years ago that she started participating. She knew it was a great cause, but didn’t think she could do it. Finally, she told herself “no more excuses” and joined the team. She draws strength from children she’s seen fight cancer, knowing that if they can endure chemo, radiation, and surgery, she can endure the miles. “One little guy in particular touched my heart. Creed was an amazing little guy and he earned his angel wings way to early,” recalls Petrillo. Hiking is her way of paying tribute to Creed and others.
Petrillo has since joined several Ultimate Hikes across the country and recruited many other colleagues and friends to take the challenge as well. Join Dr. Petrillo and many others who are passionate about bringing better cancer treatments to children in need. Find an information session or learn more today at the Ultimate Hike website.
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