In a photo her father says is "pure Paige," a young Paige Yeomans Arnold sits with her cat. Paige lost her battle with leukemia in 1994 at the age of 8; Paige's Butterfly Run was started to raise money for pediatric cancer research in her memory.
continued “We weren’t looking to make a move, but we got a call from Pam Levine, who runs the Taste of Syracuse. They were looking to have a run in conjunction with the Taste, and it was the same weekend we usually do it, the first Saturday in June,” Arnold said. “We talked and she offered to have us down there. It was a difficult decision. Palmer had been lovely. The teachers had gotten things started, but we were outgrowing it with the size of the event. So we ended up moving to the center of the city with the Taste. We figured it couldn’t do anything but help grow the event.”
The 2012 event raised more than $250,000 with more than 2,600 participants. Now Paige’s Butterfly Run, which is a Children’s Miracle Network-affiliated event, includes not only a 5K race, but also a 3K fun run/walk and a “Caterpillar Crawl” for kids 5 and under. And all of the money raised funds pediatric cancer research and programs for families.
Paige’s Butterfly Run proceeds are divided into four funds: Paige’s Family Assistance Fund, which helps families under financial strain while their child is being treated, as well as providing support materials to families; the Family Fun Fund, which goes to the Child Life Specialists at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital to provide fun activities for young patients; the Research Fund, which allocates money to the research of Dr. Bill Kerr at Upstate; and the Endowment Fund, which invests money to ensure that these programs can continue after the run is no more.
Arnold said Paige’s Butterfly Run will continue to fund cancer research until a cure is found.
“There continues to be a need,” he said. “Therapies have gotten better. For CML, Gleevec came out five years after Paige died. Had it come out when she was here, she might still be with us. In Paige’s case, it was the cure that killed her, so we’re especially sensitive to the need for more cures or more insights into what can cure cancer.”