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Run Saturday honors memory of young boy
Will to Win 5K raises funds for child cancer research
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Forsyth County News

If you go

* What: Will to Win 5K and 1K Fun Run

* When: Saturday, registration begins 9 a.m.

* Where: First Baptist Church of Cumming, 1597 Sawnee Drive

* Cost: $25

* Online:

A year ago, a unique trophy was given to a special little boy for finishing his own race.

Will Abernathy completed the 1K fun run at last year’s second annual Will to Win 5K, an event held as a benefit in his fight against cancer.

His mother, Melody, recalled how the 4-year-old realized other people had finished ahead of him and so he didn’t win his “race.”

He had been hoping for a trophy, so his grandmother made one just for him that said “Superhero Will.”

On Saturday at the third annual Will to Win 5K, the trophy will be there and the race will honor him, but Will Abernathy won’t be there to run it.

The young boy who courageously fought stage 4 neuroblastoma for nearly three years died in July at age 5, amid a secondary cancer diagnosis related to his treatments.

This year’s Will to Win 5K will not only honor his memory, but also raise money in his name for the nonprofit foundation Cure Childhood Cancer.

The 5K will begin at 10 a.m. at the First Baptist Church of Cumming, where entertainment and activities will be set up for families before and after the run.

The festival will include a silent auction, food, inflatables and the horses that Melody Abernathy said “were Will’s favorites” during Horsey HouseCalls, a program that brings the animals to the home of a child fighting cancer.

Abernathy said she hopes to see a large turnout to help her feel the spirit of her son.

“I have put my whole heart into this, and it’s been just such good therapy because it makes me feel like I’m doing something for Will,” she said. “I wanted to continue to do the race and to do things that carried on his name. Of course, any parent who loses a child, they want their child’s name to live on.”

At the award ceremony Saturday, his former classmates from the First Baptist preschool will be dedicating a bench in his honor.

The run is $25 per person, but anyone who would like to donate to Cure through the Will Abernathy Believe Fun can do so online. Melody Abernathy hopes to raise $10,000 each year to give to the organization for pediatric cancer research.