What is Ride for a Child?
Ride for a Child (RFC) is a special program of Pedal the Cause that pairs teams with pediatric oncology patients who are actively going through treatment at Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. It is an inspiring way for our participants to connect with a child who is receiving state-of-the-art care and more advanced treatment for cancer as a result of the funds raised by Pedal the Cause.
Through pre-event virtual meet-ups, teams are able to form a meaningful connection with their child and family, with many teams and families staying in touch long after the event. For participating children, RFC offers an exciting distraction from their treatments and gives them a supportive team of individuals that will train, fundraise and ride in their honor.
Meet the Amazing 2023 RFAC Kiddos!
In December 2020, just days before Christmas, Addi was transported by the St. Louis Children’s Hospital critical care transport team from her local hospital. She was diagnosed with stage 3A bulky Hodgkin lymphoma soon after her arrival. She participated in a clinical trial at Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and underwent chemotherapy treatment every other week. In July 2021, she learned she was done with treatment, and Addi and her family continue to raise money to support cancer research.
Meet Ava K.!
A typical toddler who loves playing with her siblings, Ava suddenly began limping and telling her parents her ankle was hurting. The following day she was unable to walk and within three days she was diagnosed with Pre-B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. After an initial 36-day stay, she returned weekly to Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital for treatment for more than a year. She’s currently going through maintenance chemotherapy until March 2024. Ava and her family are honored to participate so they can help provide exceptional care to kids in similar situations because no kid should have to fight this fight alone.
Meet Ava N.!
Ava was diagnosed with nephroblastomatosis — the most common type of kidney cancer in children —after a routine checkup at 9 months triggered some concern. She started treatment shortly after. Ava came to Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in 2017, after several rounds of treatment and relapse at other hospitals. Unfortunately, she relapsed again in 2018 and 2021, when her medical team got even more aggressive and removed her left kidney following chemotherapy. Her last treatment was in October 2021 and her scans have been clear since. Ava and her family are excited to join in the fight against cancer.
Charlotte was diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia on January 6, 2021, when she was 5 years old. She went through chemotherapy at Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and finally rang the bell to signify the end of treatment on March 15, 2023, just after her 8th birthday. The journey was difficult for her and her family, but they are looking forward to what the future has in store for them. Raising awareness of the effects of a childhood cancer diagnosis on the entire family unit drives Charlotte and her family to support Pedal the Cause.
Chloe has been fighting neuroblastoma since she was 4 years old. Currently in her third relapse, Chloe continues treatment at Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Her options are limited due to the type of cancer, but her care team is constantly working to develop the best roadmap. Chloe and her family love to give back because they are hopeful research will not only save Chloe’s life, but others’ lives as well.
Elsie has been fighting acute myeloid leukemia for almost eight years. She has been through three stem cell transplants, total body irradiation, immunotherapy, targeted drug therapy and the numerous side effects from her years of fighting. Elsie is still recovering from her third transplant and looks forward to one day swimming in her pool, going on vacation with her family and making up for all the time she’s spent in the hospital. After spending three months at another hospital where her health rapidly declined, her family credits Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s for bringing her back to life and want to support Pedal the Cause to say thank you.
In March 2022, Gabriella started noticing some unusual symptoms, including extreme thirst, complete lack of energy and unintentional weight loss. Tests revealed she had both celiac disease and pituitary gland dysfunction due to a cancerous tumor, which was determined to be germinoma. Gabriella’s treatment plan included four cycles of three days of inpatient chemotherapy every three weeks, followed by four weeks of daily proton radiation. She began chemotherapy at Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in November 2022 and finished in February 2023. Gabriella has rarely complained, felt sorry for herself or shed a tear. In May 2023, Gabriella officially moved into remission – with no evidence of disease. Gabriella and her family are supporting Pedal the Cause to help ensure that Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital continues to be the best place for kids with cancer now and in the future.
Harper was just over one month old when she was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). Since then, she’s undergone six brain surgeries and completed a year and a half of chemotherapy. Every three months, Harper visits Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital for MRIs to check for vision loss and tumor growth and continues to attend occupational, physical and speech therapy sessions. Harper’s family is grateful for having the best care possible and want to continue to support the outstanding people who care for Harper.
Just before Thanksgiving 2019, Hudson was diagnosed with anaplastic ependymoma. He was just 2 years old. Before reaching his fifth birthday he endured five brain surgeries and two rounds of radiation and numerous scans, hospital stays and rounds of rehabilitation at Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. In May 2023 he faced his sixth brain surgery. His family is optimistic that Hudson will continue to grow and thrive and that their family can share many more special moments in the years to come, including participating in Pedal the Cause.
In October 2021, Jake began having sporadic headaches and nausea. A routine MRI revealed a golf ball-sized tumor in his cerebellum and the family was immediately sent to Siteman Kids at St Louis Children’s Hospital. Jake underwent two emergency craniotomies to remove the tumor, a high-grade astrocytoma with piloid features. Jake underwent radiation and chemotherapy and after 14 months, Jake rang the bell to signify the end of his treatment. Due to the nature of the tumor, he will be closely monitored for the next several years. Jake and his family want to help raise awareness and to help find a cure for this horrible disease.
After suffering from severe headaches, John was diagnosed with medulloblastoma in September 2020. He completed proton therapy and then chemotherapy at Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and his scans showed no tumor growth. Unfortunately, during a routine scan in September 2022, a new tumor was discovered on his spine. He is currently undergoing chemotherapy again and his tumor has already begun to shrink. He is excited to ride his bike and continue raising money for cancer research so that one day, other children will not have to struggle with a cancer diagnosis like he did.
Three years ago, Logan was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis (NF) — a genetic disorder that causes tumors to form on nerve tissue. For Logan, his NF included the thickening of the optic nerves between his eyes and his brain. Logan began a year of weekly chemotherapy treatments at Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital to lessen the thickening of that optic nerve and to improve his vision. In February 2022 he rang the bell, signaling the end of his treatment but continues to visit St. Louis Children’s Hospital every three months to monitor for tumor regrowth. His family wants to continue to support other families of children with NF and help raise money for a great cause.
Natalee was diagnosed with a brain tumor when she was 7 years old after she lost feeling and movement in her right hand and arm. She is currently on her third round of chemotherapy and has also undergone MRI-guided laser ablation. Natalee continues to have limited movement of her right arm and hand, but she doesn’t let that keep her from doing what she wants. She has been receiving treatment at Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital for the last seven years. Natalee participates in Pedal the Cause because it funded the research for the MRI-guided laser ablation that was used to treat her in 2016 right after she was diagnosed.
Noah was diagnosed with medulloblastoma in September 2021. His care team discovered three tumors in his brain and that the cancer had spread all the way down his spine. He had 30 days of radiation at Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital using the highest dose of radiation allowed to his brain and spine. That was followed up with six months of chemotherapy. Noah completed treatment in June 2022 and has been cancer free since.
Parker was first diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma at 6 months old. He underwent chemotherapy every three weeks for seven months at Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. In an effort to save some of his vision, for the next two years, they continued to treat his left eye every three weeks with cryotherapy. But in June 2017 they removed his left eye and Parker received an eye prosthetic. Parker remained extremely active with sports and when his left knee started hurting in Fall 2021, his parents assumed he tweaked it playing. The pain resolved itself, but his mom called his late effects cancer team to let them know since his risk of developing other cancers is higher. In January 2022, a bone biopsy confirmed Parker’s retinoblastoma had come back, but in his knee. He went through much more aggressive treatment, including stem cell therapy. Parker finished his treatments in June 2022 but continues to go to physical therapy and do his exercises at home. His family loves St. Louis Children’s and would recommend anyone and everyone to the hospital.
In Summer 2022, Will was diagnosed with COVID-19 while on vacation. Unfortunately, he also had an autoimmune disease that affected his liver, so his family brought him to St. Louis Children’s emergency department to help combat his symptoms. They were shocked to learn that he also had acute myeloid leukemia. He was admitted to Siteman Kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and within a few days was starting his first round of chemotherapy. Will’s body reacted very poorly to the treatment, and he required additional care and spent a lot of time in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. However, he was finally able to complete all four rounds thanks to his participation in a clinical trial that allowed him to safely finish his treatment. Will is now home from the hospital and starting to get back to his life before cancer. Supporting Pedal the Cause is important to Will and his family as a way to give back and show their gratitude for the team that saved Will’s life.