The Emily Whitehead Foundation began after Emily herself beat cancer. After relapsing twice, once in 2011 and once in 2012, the doctors believed they had run out of options. It was an innovative new treatment called CAR T-cell therapy that ended up saving her life. This treatment was able to reprogram her cells to attack the cancer, making Emily the first child in the world to have her immune cells trained. She has been cancer-free since 2012.
After beating cancer, Emily’s family created the Emily Whitehead Foundation. At the time in 2012, this treatment was highly experimental, but the foundation was able to have it FDA approved. The foundation is making it possible for the treatment to help kids across America just like Emily.
Molly Thomas is another “comeback kid” who was able to beat her compartment syndrome diagnosis and underwent a fasciotomy that now allows her to run pain-free. She met Emily while she was undergoing treatment back in 2012 at the Hershey Medical Center. With the help of incredible medical teams, both Molly and Emily are now living their lives and dedicating their energy to fighting cancer.
“When I met Emily, she was pulling her IV pole and had to wear a mask. It’s crazy to believe that just last year I was running beside her on marathon weekend,” said Molly. “I am inspired by Emily’s family and the countless families from all over the world they have helped get access to treatment, just like Emily. Spending time with Emily and watching her grow up is a constant reminder of why we keep running and raising funds for treatments and research. I know that one day we will see a world where cancer is cured and Emily Whitehead will no doubt be a part of that story!”
Since 2016, Molly has participated in the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon weekend of events as a charity runner for the Emily Whitehead Foundation, raising over $6,700 in the past five years. During last year’s event, Emily crossed the finish line of her first-ever 5K on marathon weekend with Molly on her team.
“Together, we will make cancer a thing of the past and write a better story. WE BELIEVE,” said Molly.
To learn more about the Run For A Reason Charity Program presented by Bank of America or join the Emily Whitehead Foundation team, click here.