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BMCF 8th Annual 'Fight It! 5k' to circle Central Park

Posted: March 2, 2009 7:30 p.m.
Updated: February 27, 2009 4:46 p.m.

At 8:00 AM on Saturday, May 16, hundreds of runners and walkers will follow the cross-country course along the hills and tree-lined trails of Central Park in Saugus.

Presented by JCI Santa Clarita Valley (the SCV Jaycees) and measured by the SC Runners, the 8th Annual "Fight It! 5K" Race and Walk-a-Thon is the signature fundraising even for the Brenda Mehling Cancer Fund (BMCF). Last year, the event hosted 260 participants and raised over $15,000 for the Fund.

As with past years, participants will enjoy a hearty breakfast of fruit, juices, Peet's Coffee & Tea, and raffle prizes with their admission.

Registration for students K-12, active duty military, police and fire personnel will be $15 pre-registration and $20 regular. For adults, registration will be $25 pre-registration and $30 regular. Pet registration will be $5. Teams of five or more can pre-register to receive the fifth registration free. Pre-registration runs through Friday, May 1, and includes a t-shirt/tank-top and a goody bag. Regular registration will continue online at through Thursday, May 14.

Centered in Valencia, the BMCF supports patients ages 18-40 as they undergo cancer treatment. It provides services to meet daily needs that are not covered by insurance. Typical grants cover $600 worth of medical co-payments, rent and mortgage, transportation, car insurance, repairs, and groceries.

Since Brenda founded it in 2001, the Fund has provided $185,000 to assist 260 young adults across 20 different states. She built it for young adults her age to maintain self-respect during months of treatment and minimize the stress of associated financial challenges.

Even though she lost the fight in 2004, the Fund and the Jaycees are working together to fulfill Brenda's vision of a nationwide support organization that helps young adults fight - and beat - the disease.

Brenda Mehling began her fight in her late 20s, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After surgery and treatment, she lived at peace for nearly a year. However, in the fall of 2000 she began to feel an unexplained pain in her hip, and in early 2001 she was diagnosed again with cancer.

Brenda, a native of South Dakota, was living in Los Angeles far from her friends and family. She was single, renting an apartment, and lacked the savings or other financial resources it would take to battle the disease. Los Angeles offered the best opportunities for care and an understanding employer, but Brenda knew she still had to overcome many obstacles. She required car trips to treatments and help with housing costs, running errands, and seemingly simple tasks around her apartment.

Brenda was determined to overcome the physical, emotional and financial burdens ahead of her. She was well aware that the healthcare system was not equipped to meet many patients' day-to-day needs during the long months of treatment. In reaction, Brenda insisted that a service should be created to help others in her situation, so she and Kieran Wong launched the Fund in 2001. With the help of the SCV Jaycees, they set out to provide financial relief for young cancer patients.

In January 2004, Brenda and Kieran were married. Sadly, Brenda lost her fight against cancer less than a month later. With Brenda's spirit in mind, Kieran, the board and staff of the Fund, and the SCV Jaycees continue to fulfill her mission of reducing stress for young cancer patients.


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