9-year-old SC boy hosts Jeep Jamboree for childhood cancer

Jeep Jamboree to raise funds for childhood cancer

(WIS) - Jeep owners from across the country are coming together to make one sick child's dream come true.

Curing Kids Cancer is teaming up with the family of 9-year-old Landon Derrick to fill the infield of Historic Columbia Speedway with 650 Jeeps on Saturday.

Landon's Jeep Jamboree will raise awareness and research funds for childhood cancer. The event is named for Landon, a Jeep loving boy who had a brain tumor.

Landon was diagnosed with a brainstem glioma in May of 2015.

After undergoing back-to-back brain surgeries, the tumor was removed but he suffered severe damage to his cranial nerves and his body.

He's been in and out of the hospital for three years. But despite life's obstacles, Landon is determined to beat the odds of his prognosis.

Now, Landon wants Jeep owners to join the cause, fill the infield and raise money for childhood cancer research.

The event stemmed from a Facebook page called "Landon's Jeep Page, which quickly grew to more than 14,000 members. Jeep owners sent in photos of their Jeeps for Landon to admire.

A member suggested that the group should do more to bring Landon's love of Jeeps to life, and so the planning for a Jeep convoy began.

"'Mom and dad told me do you want the money that we're all raising for ourselves, or do you want to give it to Curing Kids Cancer to help them and save a lot more lives?' and I said I'd rather give all the money that we're raising to Curing Kids Cancer to save other kids' lives," Landon Derrick said.

The Derrick family, who has worked with Curing Kids Cancer for three years, decided to have the event benefit the nonprofit.

"This is helping Landon. These Jeeps are bringing joy to his life. Now, we can have an amazing event for people to meet Landon and raise money for a cause that has helped us for three years. We thought it may just be 20 Jeeps running a convoy, it grew and we want everyone who has shown us love to feel that love back. Life is short, precious and never guaranteed," said Alana Derrick, Landon's mom.

Since Curing Kids Cancer was founded in 2005, they have raised more than $12 million to fund cutting edge childhood cancer treatments and pediatric cancer research.

"I was so touched that Landon wanted to do this because it's really going to make a difference for other children with brain tumors. It's going to help all children with cancer, but we are focused on brain tumors because they've just become the leading cause of death for children with cancer," Grainne Owen, Curing Kids Cancer founder said. "What Landon is doing is going to help save childrens' lives."

Saturday's event will include family fun activities, live music and sponsorship opportunities.

Jeeps will begin entering the infield at 2 p.m. Registration is $15 per Jeep and $5 for general parking and can be reserved at curingkidscancer.org. For questions about this event, contact Gina Janvrin at gina@curingkidscancer.org.

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