THIS WEEKEND: Prayers for Kayleigh 5K and Fun Run to raise funds for pediatric cancer

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HARTSELLE, Ala. - By now, much of the Tennessee Valley is familiar with Kayleigh McClendon, the brave seven-year-old who battled DIPG, a rare, terminal brain cancer for months.

Now, you can help contribute to pediatric cancer research by lacing up and joining the PFK 5K and Fun Run on Saturday, May 13.

It takes place at Hartselle Junior High and starts at eight Saturday morning. Online registration closes Wednesday, May 10, at midnight. But you can also register at the Hartselle Relay for Life event at the JP Cain stadium Friday night; registered participants can also pick up their packets there.

Saturday morning, participants can register at seven at the junior high before the race begins.

The McClendons started the Prayers for Kayleigh (PFK) Foundation, after learning of a serious shortfall.

"Less than 4% of the federal cancer funding goes to pediatric research, and that's all pediatric research, so every different type, kids get less than 4%," explained her mother 'Carrow McClendon. "It breaks down to about $500 per child that has DIPG that gets the funding every year."

McClendon went to explain that DIPG, or Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, tends to affect children between ages six and ten. It's been around for about three decades but no major breaks in finding a cure have been found. Children diagnosed tend to pass away within six to nine months.

"We're also going to have the LifeSouth bloodmobile there, they have a special purple Kayleigh tee-shirt they're giving out as well," McClendon explained.

The 5K and Fun Run will also be a birthday bash because Saturday so happens to be Kayleigh's eighth birthday, but that's not the only significance of the date.

"She was diagnosed on May 13, her seventh birthday, with DIPG so it coincides with that as well," McClendon said.

Proceeds go to pediatric cancer research of all types, including DIPG.

"Pediatric cancer doesn't receive a lot of funding," she said. "If you have a healthy child then you are so thankful, then give to other kids who aren't."

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