Cathy Dyson writes about King George County.
Youngsters join Wesley Berry’s team to raise money for cancer research
Children as young as 3 will run and ride bikes while their older cohorts also will take a swim, all part of an effort to raise money for cancer research.
The events make up a youth triathlon scheduled Saturday, Sept. 10, at the King George Family YMCA. Proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society through the “Win 4 Wesley” team, headed by 16-year-old Wesley Berry.
Wesley, a rising junior at King George High School, has been dealing with a brain tumor since he was 12. He and family members started the team because Wesley said he wanted to help find a cure for the disease that struck when he was 12.
Wesley’s team doesn’t just raise money during the annual King George Relay for Life in May. Friends and relatives also have skated and bowled, served soup and sold baskets to raise money in Wesley’s name.
On Sept. 10, children will pick up the torch. The triathlon, for ages 6 to 14, starts at 8 a.m. at the YMCA.
Kids ages 6 to 10 will swim for 50 yards, bike for a mile and a half and run for three-fourths of a mile.
Those ages 11 to 14 will double the effort. They’ll swim for 100 yards, bike for 3 miles and run for a mile and a half.
The event is a little less strenuous hose ages 3 to 5. They’ll get started at 10:30 a.m. on their short bike ride and run.
A family friend who has gotten into triathlons suggested the event for the younger set, said Wesley’s mother, Paula. She said the family and team were all for it, if someone else would plan it.
YMCA officials picked up the sponsorship and planned the routes.
Meanwhile, Wesley has enjoyed a summer filled with activities. His CaringBridge website, where his family posts regular updates of his condition, is filled with entries about fishing, tubing and softball games.
Wesley and his younger brother, Drew, are on the Foxes golf team and have been busy with practices.
The family, which includes his father, Kevin, and sister, Ashley, also have faced another setback with Wesley’s condition. In April, the teenager had his third surgery to remove a new tumor from his brain. Tests showed he’d had his second recurrence since the initial tumor in 2007.
Surgeons were able to remove all of the most recent growth, Wesley’s mother said. And, Wesley is undergoing an experimental form of chemotherapy, which he takes daily at home.
The drug is still in development and goes by a number, not a name, Paula Berry said. It attempts to target certain patterns of cell development in the brain.
“It’s worth a try,” she said.
Wesley will continue to go to Children’s National Medical Center in Washington every other month for MRIs and spinal taps.
For race information and registration, go to http://www.racetimingunlimited.org. For updates on Wesley’s condition, go to http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/wesleyberry1/mystory
For more information about the Youth Triathlon, contact Rebekah Doran at 540/775-9622 or Michele Tritt at 540/760-8260.