BENNETTSVILLE, S.C. — One organization is working to start a journey to raise awareness for brain cancer but also keep the legacy of one little girl who lost her battle to the disease.
“Gracie’s Hope First Annual Memorial Birthday Fundraiser” is set to honor 9-year-old Alivia Grace “Gracie” Scott, who passed away on May 16 from a form of brain cancer called diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas. The event is being held on Aug. 11, three days before what would have been her 10th birthday, at Lindsay Park in Bennettsville, S.C., from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The day will offer plenty of events for both children and adults to enjoy — including bounce-houses, carnival games, raffles, and food. A “Gracie’s Hope” bracelet can be purchased for unlimited access to the bounce-houses, and everything else will have a small fee attached.
“We want to celebrate her life and raise awareness for DIPG trials,” said Season Norton, who is helping organize the event. “It’s going to be a fun event where everyone can come together for a cause.”
Gracie was a student at Christ the Cornerstone in Laurinburg, where she made her mark on both the students and staff. During her battle, the school circled around her and even created a tribute garden to her. “Gracie’s Garden” has a large cross in the middle filled with painted “Love Rocks” as a tribute to the young girl.
The proceeds from the birthday fundraiser will go to DIPG trial research done by Dr. Theodore Johnson at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia in Augusta. He is currently offering innovative research that may one day cure the disease.
DIPG is an aggressive brain tumor found in part of the brain steam called pons which controls everything from heartbeat and breathing to eyesight and balance.
DIPG accounts for approximately 75 to 80 percent of pediatric brain stem cancers and is terminal upon diagnosis. While there are trials available to treat DIPG, they have not shown any improvement in the overall prognosis.
“Less than 4 percent of funding from the government goes to pediatric cancer,” Norton said. “Many parents whose children get diagnosed don’t know about the trials because they’re not publicized. They’re told to go home and make memories, that’s it.”
Norton hopes that all the surrounding communities will come together and support the event because the disease could happen to anyone.
“You don’t think it’s going to happen to you but it can,” Norton said. “We’re a close community, we need to work together and do something.”
For information about Gracie’s Hope, or to donate, sponsor, or volunteer at the Memorial Birthday Fundraiser contact 843-603-1057 or [email protected]
Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171 or at [email protected]