Locals organizing a 5K Memorial Run during National Childhood Cancer Awareness

ODESSA, Texas (Nexstar) — September is a month recognizing a disease that has affected so many people and local organizers are gearing up for next week’s 5K run for Avori Quinonez.

Allan Espina is the organizer and supporter of the Avori 5k Memorial Run and is ready for the second year of the run.

“The 5k next week will be a memorial 5k. Last year we held a 5k in honor of Avori Quinonez, she is 6 years old and diagnosed with osteosarcoma when she was 4. Sadly she passed away 3 weeks ago and we are doing this to honor her,” Espina said.

According to Saint Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, childhood cancer is the leading cause of death for children under 14 years of age.

“It’s very hard to think of a little girl going through things like this. You always hear about cancer in the community,” Espina said.

In 2012, former President Barack Obama declared September National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

“It’s very common, but it’s really heartbreaking when you hear that it’s affected kids like Averi,” Espina said.

This is the second annual 5K run of the West Texas Gazelles of Odessa. Last year’s 5K raised $4,310 dollars to back Averi. All that money was donated to families like Avi Quinonez-Averi’s father.

“Her father Avi, who is a colleague of West Texas Gazelles from Odessa, decided to take advantage of the 5k. All registrations, all profits from the 5k will go to a fund that will benefit cancer-affected children in West Texas,” Espina said.

Organizer Allen Espina says holding a 5K run can be emotional, but it’s all about the bigger picture.

“We certainly don’t want to have a memorial run because it means someone has passed away, but if this is something, we can help those families who are going through the same things as Avi,” Espina said.

Espina encourages families with children with cancer not to give up because the community wants to support them.

“Hold on. We’re just really happy to be able to do this to help and let the community know that there are activities in the area that can help those in need,” Espina said.

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