One Wake County girl battling cancer is hoping her float in the 2022 Apex Rotary Christmas Parade raises awareness for childhood cancer.
Lakelynn Markham is a nine-year-old third grader at Buckhorn Elementary in Holly Springs, N.C. She was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer when she was three.
"She was diagnosed in December of 2016," mom Leslie Atalese-Markham explained through tears. "With a very rare form of cancer. It is in less than .02% of cancers. And it's basically a soft tissue sarcoma that is driven by a gene mutation that doesn't respond to standard forms of chemo. So prior to this clinical trial, there were no options for kids like her."
It took time to diagnose, but, doctors were able to help Lakelynn enroll in a clinical trial in Boston. For years, the third grader has been receiving daily chemo treatments and every three and a half weeks she has to travel to Boston for treatment.
"I go to Dana Farber," Lakelynn explained. "And, I have to get shots and have to get my like heartbeat and do a little checkup."
To help other kids in the same battle, Markham and her family are building an Alex's Lemonade Stand themed float for the 2022 Apex Rotary Christmas Parade. Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation raises money for pediatric cancer research.
"I want to raise money so kids don't have to go to the hospital," Lakelynn explained. Her mom says funds are needed for more research.
"There's not a lot of awareness on pediatric cancer," Atalese-Markham explained. "There's not a lot of funding so less than 4% of funding goes towards pediatric cancer nationally, so for us it's a it's a way of not only spreading awareness, but raising money. Because the more research we have the better medicine and and treatments options that we have for kids like Lakeland and all the other kids in the world that are fighting cancer."
Lakelynn Markham, her family and friends will ride and walk alongside her Alex's Lemonade Stand float. They'll hand out a QR code to help her fundraise.
The Apex Rotary Christmas Parade begins at 5pm Saturday, December 3, 2022.