Houstonians hit the pavement at Run for the Rose

April 15, 2013 7:11:08 AM PDT
For more than a decade now, the Dr. Marnie Rose Foundation has been working toward a cure for brain cancer. Sunday morning at Reliant Park, thousands showed up to help in that effort with their wallets, legs and hearts.

For the 11th time, Houstonians have spent part of a Sunday running -- or walking -- for more than themselves at the Run for the Rose.

Blanca Vallejo is among them. She lost her niece, Alyssa Martinez, to brain cancer four months ago.

"Alyssa was a very kind person. She was very peaceful," Vallejo said. "She ran for the Run for the Rose last year."

The Run for the Rose is held annually in honor of the memory of Dr. Marnie Rose. Brain cancer killed the local pediatrician in 2002. Prior to her passing, she continued to allow cameras from ABC's Houston Medical to watch her journey through chemotherapy.

Marnie's fight inspired her mother, Lanie Rose, to start a foundation in her name that benefits research and provides support for affected families.

Families like the Baileys. Scott was diagnosed when he was two. Five years later, he is cancer-free.

"What the Roses have done here is just absolutely amazing for cancer research," Scott's mother, Tina Bailey, said. "We love it."

In its inaugural year, not a single brain cancer survivor participated in the run and walk. This year, there were 71 among the 4,800 who chose to participate. It's a testament to the efforts of this annual event, which hopes one day there won't be a need for a walk or run because there will be a cure.

"It means so much to us that Marnie can be remembered for helping others," Lanie Rose said. "Not just for the fact that she died too soon."

So far this year, the event has raised more than $500,000. Since its inception, it has given $3.5 million to two local hospitals.

The foundation estimates that for every dollar it raises, it generates another $5-10 in federal support and grants.

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