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Warriors for William 5K raises thousands for childhood cancer research
Warriors for William
Scenes from the 5th annual Warriors for William 5K at J.F. Gregory Park. Photos provided by Christine Hall Photography.

Superheroes fight for good. Nearly 200 runners followed suit Oct. 28 at J.F. Gregory Park in Richmond Hill for the Warriors For William 5K.

This fifth annual superhero- themed road race raised more than $18,000 for childhood cancer research.

“That’s exciting to us, and it’s where the money is needed most,” said Danielle Webb, a clinical pediatric dietitian at Memorial Health and co-founder of the Warriors For William Foundation. “Just four percent of federal funds go to childhood cancer research, and the rest comes from private sources.”

Danielle and her husband, foundation co-founder and South-Coast Health pediatrician Dr. William Webb, know the disease firsthand. In 2014, their son William -- the namesake of the foundation and race -- succumbed to neuroblastoma, a rare form of pediatric cancer. While undergoing treatment, William sought inspiration from superhero comics, cartoons, and films.“If we just curled up and hid away in grief, it would be letting him down,” Dr. William Webb said in advance of the race. “He would want us to get out there and improve the situation for others.”

The tradition continued as runners and spectators, many dressed as superheroes, joined the Webbs’ cause on race day. Among the 140 race participants were Jessica Gladden and John Duberley, winners of the women’s and men’s categories, respectively.

In the 14-and-under bracket, Sadler Wilson won the female category, and Drew Wilson took home the male win.

Approximately 40 children dashed in the ½-mile fun run.

Many kids signed up for superhero training as characters including Spider- Man, Wonder Woman, and Captain America, and shared their super skills with games and activities.

Others noshed on event concessions, bounced on inflatables, danced to a Top 40 soundtrack, and perused cars on display courtesy of title sponsors Grainger Honda and Grainger Nissan.

According to the Warriors For William Foundation, 100 percent of the net funds raised will be directed toward organizations specializing in pediatric cancer research.

“Our goal is to channel all of this money and attention onto the research side, and make some breakthroughs,” said Dr. Webb. “Quite simply, we want a cure, and we’re happy to donate our time and efforts to help find one.”

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