MOUNT GREENWOOD — Teams of firefighters will find out who's best at breaking down doors, eating hot wings and pulling fire trucks Saturday as part of the fifth annual Fire Up A Cure fundraiser.
The event raises money for pediatric cancer clinical trials and takes place from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at Saint Xavier University in Mount Greenwood. The event raised $55,000 last year and aims to raise $75,000 in 2016, according to school officials.
While the bulk of the money goes toward research, some of the money is used to pay for young adults who were stricken with cancer as children and are seeking careers as first responders. Another small percentage is directed at perks for kids in treatment.
Some 30 teams of firefighters will compete in the fundraiser that also includes an obstacle course, tug of war, jousting and more. Children who are either fighting cancer or have survived the deadly disease will cheer on the participants and serve as honorary coaches.
The nonprofit organization raises money through the event with the goal of beating the cancer like Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia that 3-year-old Ava Perakis is currently battling.
Ava was diagnosed with the disease last May. Her hair has fallen out as a result of ongoing chemotherapy treatments. The regiment includes treatments three times a week and will span a total of 2½ years, according to information provided by the university.
Ruben Correa, 19, of East Side was diagnosed with a similar form of leukemia in 2010. A bad reaction to antibiotics caused his kidneys to fail during treatment. Still, the teen persevered, only to see his cancer return after a 2-year remission in 2015. He endured a second round of chemotherapy and graduated with his high school class.
The firefighters compete to honor the battles fought by of Ruben and Ava, but the event also includes other family-friendly activities. Irish dancers will be there to entertain the crowd. There will also be a kids' fire pole to slide down, real fire trucks for children to explore, face painting, arts and crafts, a reptile show and a magician
New this year will be arrival of the 501st Legion Midwest Garrison. This traveling group of "Star Wars" fans dress in movie-quality costumes that include Stormtroopers, bounty hunters and other favorite characters from the popular films.
For more information, visit the Fire Up A Cure website.