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 RFAC Kiddos!
Harper Grace is a light to the Powered by Hope team! Harper Grace loves dancing, singing, and music. Harper was diagnosed with NF1 when she was a little over a year old. Harper works really hard to catch up with those around her but does it all with a smile on her face and an amazing attitude. She is truly a ray of light and positivity we can all learn from!
Bartlett’s Bikers are riding this year for Natalee. Natalee was diagnosed with Tuberous Sclerosis and a brain tumor in November 2015. She had a MRI-guided laser ablation in Jan 2016 but they were not able to ablate all of the tumor due to its location in the brain stem. Research for this procedure had funding from Pedal the Cause! Natalee enjoys baking, swimming and hanging out with friends. Natalee brings a bright light to every one she meets and we are so encouraged by her bravery.
As a goofball who loves to tell jokes and play tricks on people, 7-year-old Eli has continued to stay positive even though the past year has been full of challenges. Last year, Eli was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. About halfway through his treatment journey, scans showed that the tumor wasn’t shrinking enough and he would need to have part of his leg amputated. After the surgery, Eli continued chemotherapy as a precaution. Eli completed his inpatient treatment and now has scheduled scans at the Joe Buck Imaging Center every three months and is in the process of receiving his prosthetic. He also sees several other specialties at St. Louis Children’s, all coordinated through the collaborative care model as patients transition to the survivorship program.
Just before Thanksgiving in 2019, Hudson then two years old, was diagnosed with an Anaplastic Ependymoma. Hudson is currently receiving radiation therapy to his brain and spine in hopes of preventing future disease recurrence. He will finish his therapy just in time to celebrate his 5th birthday on July 5th! Hudson has handled all that has happened to him with a spirit and strength far beyond his years. He has the kindest heart and makes friends with everyone he meets! We are optimistic that Hudson will continue to grow and thrive and that our family can enjoy being together and share many more special moments in the years to come!
Charlotte was diagnosed with Leukemia B-cell type ALL at the age of 5. She has maintained a positive attitude from day one and often talks about how sorry she is for cancer because it picked the wrong body to enter. One of her doctors told her early on that she is “Kicking Leukemia in the butt.” Anyone who meets her can’t help but smile. She leaves joy everywhere she goes. Charlotte is finished with her cancer treatments in March 2023. Her hair is growing back in, with curls she never had before. She dreams of becoming a famous singer and discovering a cure for cancer when she grows up.
Elsa loves swimming, volleyball, basketball, art, and reading. Elsa was diagnosed at 5 years old with AML and had a stem cell transplant from her newborn brother. She relapsed after 1 year; and she was able to get back into remission with a DLI and Revlimid. Elsa relapsed again in 2019 and was a candidate for the NK trial at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. The NK trial gave her family an option of treating Elsa’s cancer without the toxicity of the standard protocol of treatment, a second transplant. Elsa’s little brother Eli has even been called to action to help Elsa, not one time, not two times, but three times. He has given her his blood, his cells, and his immune system & blood type. Eli has earned his name of Superman Eli! Elsa is currently recovering at home, and most importantly in remission.
On May 15, 2020, Gabriella had some routine blood work done and the next day, Gabriella’s family received a call from her doctor saying that her bloodwork indicated Leukemia and that they should pack a bag and head straight to the Emergency Room at Children’s Hospital. Their lives turned upside down with that unexpected phone call. Gabriella had not displayed symptoms – so this had them all in shock. There was so much they didn’t know about Leukemia and had to quickly learn.
Gabriella’s family feels extremely blessed to be able to say that Gabriella has been in remission for 5 months now. She recently returned to school and is learning to ice skate. She has a goal of joining the Blues Special Kids hockey team in the Fall. Gabriella’s family says the experience has taught them to savor the small moments and celebrate them and to not take spending time together for granted, for we never know what life may throw at us.
This year, St. Louis Children’s Hospital rides in honor of 8-year-old Ava, who was diagnosed with nephroblastomatosis — the most common type of kidney cancer in children — when she was less than a year old.
At a routine checkup at 9 months, her pediatrician confirmed that the left side of her body was larger than her right, and an orthopedist confirmed her to have hemihypertrophy, which has a strong link to childhood cancer. An ultrasound confirmed both her kidneys had cancerous tumors. She started treatment shortly after.
Ava came to 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 be representing St. Louis Children’s at Pedal the Cause this year and hope that you will join her team in the fight against cancer!
Alicia’s Army is so excited to be riding in honor of Logan. Logan loves tennis, golf, the Cardinals, and the Blues! Logan was diagnosed with NF in February 2020, after his speech therapist noticed a regression and recommend some further testing. Logan’s symptoms of NF were small benign tumors on his brain, a tumor behind his left eye, and optic pathway glioma, which is the thickening of the nerve between his eye and brain. We would love to participate in Pedal the Cause Ride for a Child to bring awareness to NF, and to help any family currently undergoing treatments at Children’s.
In September 2020, John was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma. Since then, he has completed proton therapy at the Proton Therapy Center at Siteman Cancer Center and is currently receiving chemotherapy treatment.
John loves the St. Louis Blues and Cardinals! Siteman Kids and St. Louis Children’s Hospital has provided better care for John than any of his family could have ever hoped for. The staff has been absolutely amazing. He never fears going in for appointments anymore. John got his first MRI in September 2020 when he was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma. Since then, he has completed radiation therapy at the Proton Therapy Center at Siteman Cancer Center.
On December 20, 2020 the Darnell Family celebrated Christmas. That night, Addi complained of a problem with her neck where a mass was visible. They took her to their hometown emergency department in Du Quoin. The next day, a mobile ICU arrived and Addi was diagnosed with Stage 3A Bulky Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Addi took part in a clinical trial at Siteman Kids at St. Louis Childrens Hospital and received chemotherapy every other week. Addi finished chemotherapy on June 4, 2021. On July 2, the family learned they were done with treatment!
Addi loves volleyball and continued to play throughout her treatment with incredible support from her teammates, coaches, family and medical team.
Addi’s parents Andrew and Lindsay are both financial advisors with Edward Jones and they are proud to join their firm to raise money in this fight so this care continues and ultimately a cure is found.
In the July of 2020, Auggie was diagnosed with B-cell ALL. His leukemia treatment involves a number of different chemo drugs via IV and oral, as well as oral steroids. In late August 2020, Auggie was in remission! By December of 2020, his hair had started to grow back in, and he had started to look more like himself by Spring 2021.
He is now five and a half, and is ready to go to kindergarten in the fall. Auggie is slated to finish his treatment in September of 2022, and then he’ll get his port out a month or so after he finishes chemo. He is excited to go swimming in a lake! Auggie’s family is grateful to have had such a wonderful team of doctors.
Jake started getting headaches in early October 2021 and a brain MRI showed a golf ball sized mass in his cerebellum. He was admitted immediately to St. Louis Children’s and was scheduled for a craniotomy two days later to remove it. After this surgery, it was determined there was still remaining tumor so a second craniotomy was scheduled that same week.
The recovery was very difficult. He had to relearn to walk and suffered from constant nausea which has caused a lot of weight loss. Jake’s family was told a month later that the tumor was a high grade glioma and Jake and his family’s world was turned upside down. Jake went through 30 sessions of proton radiation along with chemotherapy. His first post radiation MRI showed new growth. He’s had two more scans and the area has not grown. Jake is doing high-dose chemotherapy every six weeks for the next year. He will continue with regular scans as this type of tumor has a high reoccurrence rate. Through all of this, Jake has kept fighting with such optimism.
Chloe is a spunky strong willed nine year old who is in the 2nd fight of her life with Neuroblastoma. The 1st fight started at 4 years old and the 2nd fight started at 7 years old. Chloe is kicking butt all though some days it takes everything in her to kick butt and all she wants is to be a normal 9 year old but she is still fighting. Chloe is still in treatment since it was a relapse and no road map on how to treat it we are just doing the best we can with deciding what treatments she’ll do to hopefully prevent another relapse.