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5K raises 20K for Children's Cancer Research Fund, remembering local 8-year-old

Updated: Sep 23, 2019

EXCELSIOR — The Lake Minnetonka area rallied around the family of Maddison Mertz on Saturday, Aug. 17, raising money for Children’s Cancer Research Fund through the Maddison Mertz’s Miracles Race for Research.

Maddison was an 8-year-old Victoria resident with stage 4 brain cancer. She died in 2017.

Hosted at Excelsior Brewing Company for the 3rd year in conjunction with The Lakes Running Company, the event was a 5K and 1-mile family walk/skip/run followed by live music, games, food, drinks and raffles.

Jody Walstrom helped organize the event.

“My sister-in-law, Jacqueline Walstrom, and I learned of Maddison’s diagnosis and the lack of treatment coverage through a mutual friend,” Walstrom said. “We did not know Zack and Lindsay (Maddison’s parents) at the time, but wanted to help. Our oldest daughters were the same age as Maddison, and as moms it just hit too close to home. So we did what we could and now are blessed to be part of the team that keeps Maddison’s legacy alive by raising critical research dollars.”

Runners were encouraged to set up fundraisers through the Children’s Cancer Research Fund and all proceeds from the event will also go to the charity. Walstrom said the event raised more than $15,000 and Caroline O’Halloran, the taproom and events manager at Excelsior Brewing Company, was instrumental in making the event happen.

This is the third year Maddison Mertz’s Miracles Race for Research has happened. The first year, in 2017, the event raised money for Maddison’s treatment.

Maddison was diagnosed in November 2016 with stage 4 Glioblastoma Multiforme Glioblastoma — a rare and difficult to treat cancer. According to her webpage on the Children’s Cancer Fund, Maddison never stopped smiling and never gave up.

Those looking to donate to Maddison Mertz Miracles can do so at the fundraising page

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