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Gold on the Greenway coming back to Gainesville this month
Event raised almost $140,000 for cancer research in 2018
Gold on the Greenway, pictured March 2018, comes back to Gainesville this month. Photo by Adam Hicks.

Gold on the Greenway is coming back after a successful first year that raised almost $140,000 for childhood cancer research.

The event at 4 p.m. March 16 on the Midtown Greenway will feature music from The Dave Matthews Tribute Band, The Ryan Casper Band and The Allen Nivens Band. There will be plenty of food from Hop’s Kitchen, Johnny’s Barbecue, Carniceria Tapatia and Frozen Frenzee and drinks from Tap It. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online in advance or at the entrance on the day of the event.

“After last year’s turnout and how great the event went, I don’t doubt for a second we’ll exceed our numbers from last year,” said Molly Johnson, whose family helps organize the event that benefits the Rally Foundation.

Truth be told, Johnson wishes her family never would have had to be a part of the event in the first place. Her son, Riley, 8, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2016 and has been fighting the disease since.

Organizing families

The Johnson family: J.R. and Molly with son Riley

The Rock family: Marcus and Josie with son Asher

The Bales family: Andy and Holly with daughter Addi

The Ligon family: Rusty and Carol Ann with son Eli

The Allgood family: Zach and Courtney with daughter Brecklynn

The Wages family: Chris and Christine with son Tyler

The Price family: Jeff and Lisa with Daughter Liliana

The Gossling family: Michael and June with son Grant

The Greene family: Chris and Brannan with son Max

The England family: Tommy and Amy with son Luke

The Powell family: Rob and Emily with son Henry

Now, he’s about three months away from the end of his treatment, which means he’ll no longer have to receive chemotherapy. It wasn’t until last year that Johnson said her family finally felt like they had their feet on the ground and could start thinking of ways to give back and help other families who may go through the same thing.

“We kind of got through the whirlwind of the initial diagnosis and then the intense treatment our son was going through,” Johnson said. “Those first two years were really hard and by the time 2018 came around, we could catch our breath a little bit and we could see the light at the end … and had a little bit of extra wind in us — a little bit of motivation.”

Hearing the news that Riley had leukemia was tough. But as the dust settled, the Johnsons found a purpose in finding ways to support other families, many of which live in the area.

“You never expect to be given that news,” Johnson said. “But once you are, you’re automatically part of this group of cancer families. And unfortunately, in our community, there is a large number of kids fighting cancer.”

Through Gold on the Greenway, Johnson hopes to make it easier for families that will be given the same news her family was.

“We were able to fund fully on our own three research programs toward childhood cancer,” Johnson said of the money raised last year. “That’s huge. That’s awesome. That helps somebody else's kid down the road when they're diagnosed to maybe have a better outcome.”

And it’s not only about the children that will be diagnosed with cancer in the future. The event is for the ones who are currently living that reality.

Quite a few families are behind the event — some with children who have cancer, others just friends and family — helping plan everything that makes it happen.

And those children that do have some form of childhood cancer show up at Gold on the Greenway.

“They’re going through a serious fight,” Johnson said. “For them to see their town and their friends come out in honor of them, it also gives them a little extra push in their fight to keep going and that’s huge.”

Regional events