Dragonslayers to storm Cook Park this Saturday
Annual walk to benefit Northwest Sarcoma Foundation
Sam Day isnt sure what hes going to say when he steps on the stage this weekend, but hes sure it will include three simple words.
Just. Keep. Fighting.
Thats something that you need to know in order to get through a fight like this, said Sam, an eighth grader at Cedar Park Middle School in Beaverton who will be the guest speaker at this weekends seventh annual Dragonslayer PDX Walk for Sarcoma at Cook Park. You just have to keep fighting.
The non-competitive 5K walk kicks off at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the park and will include plenty of fun, from face painting to arts and crafts.
The walk began in Seattle as a way to honor those who have been affected by sarcoma, tumors that are found in connective tissue such as fat, blood vessels, nerves, bones and muscles.
A Portland event was sparked in 2009 and has been held in Tigard since 2012, each year leading walkers around the three-mile loop at Cook Park. Walkers, runners and bicyclists are invited, as are dogs and people in wheelchairs.
Proceeds benefit the Northwest Sarcoma Foundation.
This is Sams fourth year walking in the event.
The spirit of it is energizing for him, said Sams mother, Lorna Day. The first time he went was the day after he had been to chemo. He was wiped out and not feeling great, but the energy of that event just brought his spirit back. The difference between his demeanor when we pulled up and at the end were amazing. He was so excited that all the nausea and fatigue just went away.
Sam said that the spirit of the walks are infectious.
Its fun, Sam said. Everyone is smiling and it has this very upbeat feeling. It gives you a happy feeling being there. A feeling of hope.
Sam was diagnosed with Ewings sarcoma, a rare cancer found in the bone and soft tissue, five years ago.
Sam has had a long and difficult battle with cancer. He lost his leg to cancer at the age of 9.
Its a difficult cancer to beat, but Sams positive attitude is infectious, Lorna Day said. For the first time in 18 months, Sams tumor is shrinking.
Sam regularly brings home awards for the having the largest team, and he expects to see between 40 and 50 team members cheering him on at Saturdays walk.
Sam is a competitive kid, Lorna said.
Sam said he cant imagine not going to Dragonslayer.
I want to keep doing it as long as I can, he said. Its an awesome walk.
Sam has a few days left to write his speech. Lorna said she considers him to be a hero.
It bothers him when people call him a hero, Lorna Day said. He says hes not a hero if he has to endure this, but hes a hero because he has been through so much and kept his spirit and his attitude strong. Thats what people notice about him right away. He brings the right kind of energy and optimism to the event, and thats what its all about.JW_DISQUS_ADD_A_COMMENT