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Race for Grace Set Saturday in Norwin

Charity has raised $1.59 million for childhood brain cancer research, support since 2008

By Submitted Report
The Tube City Almanac
April 19, 2023
Posted in: Announcements

Organizers of the 15th Annual Race for Grace are hoping to raise $165,000 at this year’s event. (Courtesy Reflections of Grace Foundation)

A North Huntingdon Twp.-based charity that has raised more than $1.5 million to support families of children with a rare form of brain cancer is celebrating a milestone anniversary.

The Reflections of Grace Foundation will hold its 15th Annual Race for Grace at Norwin High School this Saturday, a spokesperson said.

Race for Grace is held annually in memory of Grace Ekis, who was 5 years old in 2008 when she died from complications of childhood diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, a terminal form of brain cancer.

Organizers said Race for Grace hopes to raise $165,000 this year.

Race for Grace is the largest yearly fundraiser for the Reflections of Grace Foundation, a spokesperson said. Because of this event and other fundraising efforts, the foundation said it has given $831,000 to 577 families of children battling brain cancer across the country.

Additionally, the foundation has awarded $625,000 to fund crucial research grants through the DIPG Collaborative, with the intent of someday discovering a cure.

Tamara Ekis, Grace’s mother and president of the Reflections of Grace Foundation, said the 15th anniversary is poignant. “We are looking forward to celebrating this special event with our loyal volunteers and supporters who have helped us over the years, but at the same time we are taxed by the realization that it has been 15 years without Grace, and that she would be turning 21 just before race day,” Ekis said.

Mike Clark, WTAE-TV news anchor, will serve as master of ceremonies for Saturday’s event, to be held on the high school campus, 251 McMahon Drive off Route 30 in North Huntingdon Twp.

Opening activities start at 7 a.m. and the race begins promptly at 9 a.m. After the race, children and families can participate in indoor activities, including games, dance performances, basket raffle, a silent auction and charitable hair donations.

The day’s events are scheduled to conclude around 1 p.m. following an awards ceremony, the spokesperson said.

“We take comfort in the fact that with the support of this community we have been able to continue raising money to ease the financial burden that many families face when their child is diagnosed with brain cancer and fund research critical to finding a cure,” Ekis said.

Participants can register online at www.reflectionsofgrace.org and sign up for either the 5-kilometer run, 5-kilometer walk or 1-mile fun walk. There is also a virtual option for people unable to attend in-person.

Registration fees are $35 for adults and $30 for children 12 and under. Lead sponsor of the event is C. Harper Auto Group.

Originally published April 19, 2023.

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