Run to fight children's cancer provides support in unexpected ways

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV) -

When you catch up with 6-year-old Jace Hyduchack, it is easy to see he is great at mock battles with light sabers and toy guns as he plays with his parents.

But just last year, the Hyduchaks found they were facing a real-life battle with a potential killer.

“Jace was diagnosed with leukemia around November 2015,” says his father, George. “It was pretty devastating to get that diagnosis. You are scared, you don't know what to do. You don't know who to turn to.”

[RELATED: Therapists help patients fight the hidden wounds of cancer]

As they muscled up to fight cancer this family soon discovered they would not have to fight alone.

“It was over whelming the support. I just didn't know people cared that much, I really didn't. It restored my faith in humanity,” George says, remembering how family, friends, school and even total strangers rallied behind them.

One way all those people came to their aid, was through ”Jace's Defenders,” a team mom Ann put together for Grand Canyon University's annual Run to Fight Children's Cancer. 

“We just put the word out we were going to run a race and we would love if you could come out and join us,” George says. “And people were asking how can we help and before you knew it we had 100-plus people signed up.”

[RELATED: Doctors face challenges getting clinical trials for children with cancer]

Proceeds from that race go to fund Children's Cancer Network and Phoenix Children's Hospital, but, George says that financial support pales in comparison to what they really found at the race. 

“That race was healing power for us, it really was. We were in about our third month and we had some really difficult times in the first three months,” he tells, holding back the tears. “We were in the hospital a lot and he got out the hospital the day before the race. And we got there and we were just united.”

Jace was in the middle of intense therapy last year but still took part. This year, things will be much different. He is the official starter and will blow the official starting horn. 

“What sound does it make,” asks his dad.

“Honk” Jace answers, saying it will be super loud.

George says it is an honor not just for Jace, but the entire family.  

[RELATED: Mother and daughter fight cancer together]

“We get to be an advocate to raise funds and awareness for children's cancer and that is huge to us," George said.

Because they want to make sure every family hit by cancer can say what Jace does when asked what he did to cancer. The answer a simple.

“Kick its butt,” Jace said.

This year’s race is Saturday, March 11 at Grand Canyon University.  You can find all the information at http://runtofightcancer.com/charities/phoenix-childrens-hospital/.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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