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Two Young Superheroes Inspire a Starry Night Team-Up

09/13/17

Batman, Captain America, Wonder Woman. These heroes may be super on their own, but when they team up with others, they’re unstoppable.

This Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, you don’t have to pick up a comic book or buy a movie ticket to see a superhero team in action.

Two young heroes and their families have joined forces for the Starry Night 5K, where they’re taking on a foe more formidable than any story’s supervillain.

In 2015, Ridge was diagnosed at age two with a Pilocytic Astrocytoma brain tumor. While undergoing treatment at Duke Children’s Hospital, he met Brodie, who was diagnosed with the same type of tumor.

The boys often had chemotherapy on the same days and became instant friends - spending their time at the arts and crafts table, visiting staff in the gift shops, playing in the courtyard and riding around the pediatrics department in wagons.

Now four and five years old, respectively, Ridge and Brodie’s tumors are stable. Ridge continues to battle some severe side effects from his treatments, such as vision loss and painful neuropathy in his feet, but he doesn’t let that keep him down – especially with the help of Brodie.

Together, they visit Duke for monthly MRIs, travel to Florida to see their neuro-oncologist, and meet every Friday for lunch and play dates. And it’s not just the boys who have developed a close bond.

“Hannah [Ridge’s mom] has become one of my best friends!” says Jessica, Brodie’s mother. “Both of our families have bonded as the boys have older sisters who are the same age. We have taken several family trips together.”

The families are teaming up at Starry Night N.C. Triangle to help others dealing with a child’s brain tumor diagnosis. Team Superheroes’ goal is to raise $1,000 for lifesaving research and family support services through the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.

“I joined the PBTF family because I wanted to connect with other brain tumor families and bring awareness,” says Hannah. “I never in a million years saw our family on this path and I want to share our story to help other families as well as help find a cure. We need a CURE so these kids can be kids!  I want to do this in honor of my Superhero Ridge.”

“PBTF means hope to us,” adds Jessica. “Children are our future and we need to invest in their health!”

In addition to N.C. Triangle, Starry Night 5Ks in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas/Fort Worth, San Francisco, Atlanta and Philadelphia empower families and their local communities to make a difference.

You can be superhero, too, by getting a team together for a Starry Night near you or organizing a Virtual Starry Night in your own community.

Corporate and community teams receive support from Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation staff, access to recruitment and fundraising tools, and the opportunity to enjoy event festivities together. Teams who raise $10,000 or more will also receive a team tent on event day, and top teams will be recognized during and after the event.

Learn more at mystarrynight.org/team-registration.