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5K at Coolray to benefit 4-year-old with leukemia

LAWRENCEVILLE -- There was little thought of not moving forward with the race.The original "Scamper Against Cancer 5K" was held last March at Coolray Field. Its beneficiary was 12-year-old Ansley Arnette, a Dacula seventh-grader with an incredibly rare brain tumor. The thought at the time, said neighbor and organizer Rob Goldsmith, was to keep the race going for years to come, and, after Ansley got better, pick other needy families to raise donations for.

That day has come, but for all the wrong reasons.

Ansley passed away on Nov. 23 of last year, just a few days before Thanksgiving.

"Really there was never any thought about doing (the race)," Goldsmith said this week. "We can turn a bad thing into a good thing for another family."

That will come to fruition Saturday, when the newly dubbed Scamper Against Cancer Ansley Arnette Memorial 5K is held again at the Coolray Field parking lot in Lawrenceville.

The recipients of funds raised this year will be the family of Jayden Mueller, a 4-year-old from Doraville who was diagnosed with leukemia last June. When the 250 or so runners who have already signed up -- as well as last minute participants -- take to the asphalt at 8 a.m. Saturday, they'll be raising money for him.

"He's been a trooper," his mother, Shannon, said. "In the beginning it was difficult for him to take the medicine and everything was new to him. But now he takes it, and he makes sure we remember it."

Though Jayden is now in maintenance treatments (meaning monthly trips to the doctor rather than three times a week), the medical bills have piled up. Goldsmith said he hopes to raise about six or seven thousand dollars through the event, which will include a 5K and fun run.

"I'm overwhelmed with excitement and that everybody's doing this for him," Mueller said. "But he deserves it. He's been through a lot."

Registration is still open and is $30 the day of the race. The fun run is $12. More information is available at scamperagainstcancer.blogspot.com.