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Another year, another success as Gold on the Greenway raises money, awareness for childhood cancer research
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Attendees speak to each other during Gold on the Greenway, an event raising money for cancer research, on Saturday, March 16, 2019. - photo by Austin Steele

Gold on the Greenway, benefiting childhood cancer research, came back for its second year with the sounds of a Dave Matthews Band tribute band at the Midtown Greenway Park on Saturday, March 16.

The band was joined by the The Ryan Casper Band and The Allen Nivens Band for live music while food vendors like Hop’s Kitchen, Johnny’s Barbecue, Carniceria Tapatia and Frozen Frenzee filled guests’ stomachs nearby.

The Tap It beer truck kept the drinks flowing as the night went on, too.

The event is hosted in support of the many children in the area fighting cancer. Proceeds from ticket sales and vendors at the event went back to the Rally Foundation for Childhood Cancer Research.

Last year, the event raised nearly $400,000 and funded three research grants completely on its own. This year, they hoped to raise even more money and fund more researchers’ work.

“We have two kids ourselves, and when you hear about somebody who has to go through that, it gives you a lot of perspective,” said Jess Grogan, who was at the event with his wife as their sons played nearby. “It just kind of pulls your heartstrings a little bit.”

Grogan works with Molly Johnson, whose son, Riley, 8, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2016. Johnson helped start the Gold on the Greenway event with the help of other families in the area whose children are fighting cancer.

“I didn’t know any of this about Molly until somewhat recently,” Grogan said. “It’s just one of those things where you know stuff like this happens, and there’s all kind of tragic stuff like this that goes on, but when you have a personal connection to it and you can put a name to a face, it makes a huge difference.”

Grogan’s wife, Manuela Proni, felt the same way.

“It’s sad to say, but it’s different when you actually know somebody,” Proni said. “When you know somebody and their story, it’s tough not to join.”

Robert Meyers stood toward the back of the park with his 1-year-old son, Henry, in his arms. They joined the event this year because Henry was diagnosed with leukemia in August 2018.

Meyers was happy to see so many people at the event and was encouraged by the support he’s seen from the community, which in turn helps raise more funds for cancer research.

“Rally’s mission is to raise money for research of children’s cancer and that means a lot to us, obviously,” Meyers said. “So anything we can do to support it and get people out here to support it …  It doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of support for childhood cancer, so we’re glad we can be bringing awareness.”

Dawn and Chris Chapman were happy to do their part in bringing awareness to childhood cancer, too.

Their daughter, Olivia, needed to find a volunteer opportunity for school, so they chose Gold on the Greenway since it means something a little extra to their family. Their other daughter, Chloe, has Down syndrome and was there with them as they sat on the steps, looking out over the crowd on the lawn.

“Everybody, it seems like, knows somebody affected by cancer,” Dawn Chapman said. “And kids with Down syndrome are really prone to certain cancers … Luckily we’ve never had to deal with that, but this was something good that I thought let’s do it. It’s a good cause.”