To register, donate or volunteer for Warriors for William, visit aliveinsavannah.ticketsocket.com.
William Webb doesn’t hide his love of comic book superheroes. Immersed in Spiderman, Batman and every crime-fighter in between, the 3-year-old boy hopes to be just like them one day.
What he doesn’t know is that to many people in Richmond Hill and beyond, he is already very much a superhero.
In March, William was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer often found in young children and infants. Luckily, William has a community of friends, family and even complete strangers rallying behind him to help him get healthy.
“For us, our child’s cancer is not a common cancer, and we know he is very difficult to treat,” William’s mother, Danielle Webb, said. “William has had a lot of struggles but he’s only 3 and a half, and he’s more resilient than some adults are, I would say.”
Now, thanks to the contributions of businesses and vendors throughout Richmond Hill — and especially the impetus of one friend in particular — William will get to walk in his first 5K Saturday along with hundreds of his supporters.
Warriors for William is the 5K run that Catherine Grant, a doctor at the Urgent Care Center in Richmond Hill, dreamed up to help raise funds for William’s treatment. Through Facebook and word-of-mouth, Grant has drummed up nearly 300 confirmed guests to the event and more than a handful of local food vendors and businesses.
“My intention when we started this was for this to be a race” Grant said. “And if we got a hundred people, then great. But with everyone’s help, this has turned into both a fall festival and a race — we’ll have food, a costume contest with prizes — it’s going to be a good day.”
Grant’s motivation is not unusual — she’s a family friend with a 4-year-old daughter. The first-time event planner said she knew she had to do something when she heard of William’s diagnosis, she just never imagined it would take off like it has.
“I get chill bumps talking about it,” she said. “At this day and time there are a lot of things going on in the world, but it’s been a heartwarming experience seeing businesses volunteer their sponsorships and contributions and just how willing and eager people have been embrace this family in support.”
So far Papa Murphy’s Pizza, The Ice Cream Spot and Smokin’ Pig have all agreed to donate 100 percent of their profits during the event. And Grant said she will donate all the proceeds from the 5K to an account set up for the Webb family.
“Right now, William is on a trial drug and there is only so much covered by insurance,” Grant said of the boy’s treatment. “So my hope is that this will allow them to be with him more and take some of the financial burden or pressure off.”
William’s mom said she’s most excited to see her son smile at the big event planned just for him.
“He hasn’t told me what he’s going to wear yet, but from what I can guess it’s going to be Superman or Spiderman,” Webb said.
“‘Thank you’ is something we say, but it doesn’t really encompass everything we feel. So we just want to thank everyone in the community for their support and their prayers.”
The event is free and will start at 2 p.m. in J.F. Gregory Park. There will be plenty of food, as well as face-painting and inflatables for kids. The half-mile fun run/walk starts at 3:45 p.m. and the 5K starts at 4 p.m.