DEERFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio — This weekend, hundreds around the Tri-State took advantage of sunny weather to raise money for cancer research to save the lives of children at the CancerFree KIDS Butterfly Walk.
For the family of Kambria Koebee, it's a chance to be together and have a little fun. But it’s also about keeping Kambria’s memory alive.
Her grandmother, Anita, said Kambria was diagnosed with an aggressive childhood brain tumor in 2016 after just having pain in her elbow.
"They tried to get as much as they could, and she got better and then she went down hill. We just kept on thinking she was going to make it,” Anita Koebee said. “She had DIPG and she lived for almost two years and she passed away on Thanksgiving Day."
Kambria had just turned 9.
Jill Brinck, executive director of CancerFree KIDS, said the core focus of her organization is “giving ideas a chance” when it comes to pediatric cancer research.
Saturday’s event was the 15th CancerFree KIDS Butterfly Walk and 5K at Cottell Park in Deerfield Township, with the goal to raise $100,000 for research. Due to the pandemic, this year was a hybrid event where people could either come to the park to participate or participate from home.
"We have a walking storyboard around the pond where you can read about different children and their journeys,” Brinck said.
Some have survived, but some haven't. They are the butterflies, and the goal is to bring attention to each story and show the gap in funding when it comes to childhood cancer.
"Our dollars really do fund things that would otherwise go unfunded,” Brinck said.
That’s why Kambria’s family showed up for the cause.
"I hope that someday they do find a cure,” Anita Koebee said.