Carnival for the Cure, a one-day fundraiser in memory of a 5-year-old Columbus boy who died of brain cancer, raised a record $45,000 for Peyton’s Angels Indiana Chapter of the Cure Starts Now Foundation.
This year’s event was June 18 at Ceraland Park, where more than 400 people played carnival games, enjoyed live entertainment, bid on silent auction items and stayed to watch the Blast Off for Peyton fireworks at dusk.
The carnival is the creation of Lynn Whittington, who organizes the carnival in memory of her son, Peyton, who died in June 2013 from a brain cancer called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), an inoperable tentacle-like tumor that encases the brain stem.
The fundraiser, in its third year, uses all the money raised locally for research about how to fight brain cancers that kill children.
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Whittington said she wanted to express her gratitude to the estimated 100 volunteers who helped with this year’s event.
“It was a perfect day,” she said.
This year’s record proceeds means the Peyton’s Angels chapter now has reached the $100,000 donation level. It means that Whittington, in addition to being director of the Indiana chapter, will continue to have input on the Strategic Advisory Committee for the national chapter, which helps decide who receives research and grant dollars from the fundraisers.
The idea for the carnival came from one of the last family and friend events Peyton attended before he died on June 4, 2013, his mother said. Two days before his death, a group of family and friends had an informal carnival at the Whittington home near Columbus, where Peyton had a chance to see everyone and enjoy a carefee day. In an earlier interview, Whittington said she now believes it was destined to be her son’s farewell to everyone.
The next year, Whittington decided to stage a similar carnival with a goal of $5,000 but was surprised when the 2014 Carnival for the Cure raised $30,000. In 2015, the event raised $40,000 and Whittington had hoped to raise more than $40,000 this year, which was accomplished.
In addition to all this money going toward research, Whittington asked that any family with a child battling childhood brain cancer needs to register with the DIPG registry on the Cure Starts Now website. The website is located at dipgregistry.org/.
The registry is a collaborative data bank for more than 80 institutions around the world and is used to centralize and standardize collection of clinical data and tumor samples from DIPG patients, Whittington said. So far, the registry has data from more than 700 patients, and information from that data is starting to fuel targeted research, she said.
The registry houses all MRI, clinical, tissue samples, biological data and historical data for patients across the world and is housed at Cincinnati Children’s, Australia, Sick Kids and SCIOPE in the Netherlands, Whittingon said. All data removes identifying information about the patient. To register a child battling DIPG, either email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-877-349-8074.
The local Carnival for a Cure continues to sell T-shirts to increase this year’s total donations in Peyton Whittington’s memory. T-shirts, for $10, are available by emailing Lynn Whittington at email@example.com or by calling 812-929-1005.