Mackenzie Wright was diagnosed with Stage 3 Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma on March 31st, 2004 when she was only 16 months old. Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma or ARMS, is a rare soft-tissue sarcoma that affects approximately 100 children each year. It is an aggressive cancer that normally requires surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment.
Over the next six years, Mackenzie received at least 8 different chemotherapy medications, underwent two major surgeries and various other minor operations, received three different rounds of radiation totaling over 40 days of radiation treatment, and endured more scans, needles, blood draws, transfusions, procedures, and trips to the hospital than most people would in three lifetimes.
And yet, Mackenzie loved to live. She attended school as often as possible, she was a Girl Scout, she loved her friends, she was like a fish in water when it came to swimming, she rode horses and won ribbons in competitions, she was an excellent artist and she loved to read. Mackenzie enjoyed playing baseball and was an avid Yankees fan. She loved riding her pink and white 4-wheeler and when snow came, she would run outside to build a snowman as soon as possible. Then she would beg her dad to pull her on the sled behind the snowmobile or invite friends over to go sledding.
Mackenzie also loved science, experimenting, nature, exploring, camping, and all types of animals. She loved to go fishing, but was all about catch-and-release. She enjoyed going on “explores” - at the beach, around her house, on vacation, at the park - and would always return home with a load of new treasures she found along the way.
Mackenzie loved her family and her friends. She always looked forward to holiday gatherings, summer barbecues, birthday celebrations and any other social event. And she was always excited about having a fire in the fireplace, playing a game, and cuddling up on the couch with some popcorn while watching a movie. She enjoyed her friendships with boys and girls of all ages.
There were many sides to Mackenzie’s personality. She was serious, smart, thoughtful, and kind. Yet, she was also funny, silly, playful, and a little mischievous. She had an excellent imagination and would often play games pretending to be some type of animal. She was quiet and pensive at times and giggling and crazy at others. She had a true sense of justice and was always ready to stand-up for what she thought was right.
Mackenzie was truly a remarkable little girl who touched the lives of many people in ways that can’t be explained. She lived life to the very fullest... her cancer was secondary. She always just wanted to be a normal little girl, and that’s exactly what she was.
Unfortunately, though Mackenzie wasn’t ready to give up the battle, the doctors ran out of treatment options for her in February of 2010. The chemotherapy she was receiving at the time just wasn’t enough to battle the tumors any longer. Although Mackenzie had always responded amazingly to treatment in the past, often achieving completely unexpected and welcome results, there just weren’t any more drugs that they could give her that could destroy the overly aggressive, relentless disease that continued to wage war in her body. On March 3, 2010, Mackenzie died quietly at home with her family close by.
While Mackenzie is no longer here on earth, she continues to touch the lives of family, friends and strangers alike. Her story is an inspiration to all.
We walk and run at the Parkway Run/Walk each year in honor of Mackenzie and hope that advances in treatment will help all the children still battling this awful disease.
We are raising money to help fight childhood cancer and fund breakthrough research and innovative care at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Join us – together we can make a difference!
Why This Is So Important to Our Team:
Patients Need Us
Parents shouldn’t have to hear the words “your child has cancer,” but 1 in 285 children in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer by the time they are 20 years old.
Breakthroughs Are Upon Us Every day, CHOP’s Cancer Center team is redefining what a cancer diagnosis means for a child. The center offers the most advanced therapies available anywhere in the world, including cutting-edge clinical trials that reprogram the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. CHOP’s Center for Childhood Cancer Research is one of the most distinguished research programs in the nation.
How You Can Help
Make an Immediate Impact Today.
100 percent of every donation to the Parkway Run & Walk will help CHOP make important breakthroughs in understanding the causes of childhood cancer, developing new treatments that will improve outcomes for children, and one day may lead to a cure for childhood cancer.
Thank you for your support!