9-year-old SC boy raises more than $16,000 for childhood cancer at Jeep jamboree
CAYCE, SC (WIS) - Hundreds of Jeeps were on display at the Historic Columbia Speedway on Saturday, but this wasn't your typical car show.
Jeep owners from across the country came together to make one sick child's dream come true.
Curing Kids Cancer nonprofit organization teamed up with the family of 9-year-old Landon Derrick to fill the infield of the Historic Columbia Speedway with 650 Jeeps for a Jeep Convoy.
Landon's Jeep Jamboree was held in an effort to raise awareness and research funds for childhood cancer. The event was named for Landon, a Jeep loving boy who had a brain tumor.
Landon was diagnosed with a brainstem glioma in May of 2015.
"We were basically told there was really no option other than surgery," Alana Derrick, Landon's mom said. "Chemo and radiation really wouldn't work for his type of tumor."
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.
On Saturday, Jeep owners joined the cause to fill the infield of the Historic Columbia Speedway to 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.
"It touched my heart whenever I saw his page. I have a cousin who's in his later 40's now who's also survived this same thing he's had 6 brain tumors removed in his lifetime and he has two sons that have graduated from high school now so I wanted Landon to know that anything is possible," Karen Wagner, who traveled from Alaska said.
While many in attendance didn't personally know Landon, they all came out for the same cause.
"What you're on earth for is to help others and give back," Rocky Roberts, from Texas, said.
"It's astronomical to see what's happened to Landon in just a few short weeks.," said Drew Hyman, who attended the event from Georgia.
"'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," 9-year-old Landon explained.
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.
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, the founder of Curing Kids Cancer said. "What Landon is doing is going to help save children's lives."
Landon's Jeep Jamboree raised more than $16,000 dollars.
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