Through partnerships with organizations like Toby's Dream Foundation, Hooked on Hope, and Make-A-Wish, the Chartway Promise Foundation makes dreams come true for medically fragile children. With Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month in September, the foundation put three heartwarming stories of hope and resilience center stage during recent events, leaving an indelible mark on all who witnessed them.
During the Old Dominion University/Wake Forest football game on September 16, the spotlight shone on 17-year-old Levi, a remarkable young man who has faced the amputation of his leg below the knee. Levi's fervent wish was to relive the sensation of running, a passion he cherished before his diagnosis.
His story is not the only one touching hearts. Over Labor Day weekend at the Chartway Virginia Beach 10-Miler, 4-year-old Max, who is fighting leukemia, and 12-year-old Kylie, who is also battling cancer, had their wishes granted during post-race festivities.
"The heart of our community commitment is the Chartway Promise Foundation," said Brian Schools, president & CEO of Chartway. "That's why each year in September, our foundation supports pediatric cancer awareness month and raises funds to bring joy, hope, and smiles to medically fragile children and their families. Through grants to charitable partners in local communities, we make dreams and wishes come true for pediatric cancer patients when they need it most."
Levi's Wish: Running Toward Hope
Levi is a cancer patient who suffers from Synovial sarcoma. Before his diagnosis, he lived in Sicily with his active-duty Navy family. He was a wrestler and center for his high school football team. When Levi was diagnosed with cancer, his family was immediately sent back to Virginia for treatment. He began chemotherapy treatments and eventually had his leg amputated below the knee. Before amputation, Levi was an avid and disciplined runner. His dream was simple yet overwhelming in its sincerity – he wanted to feel the sensation of running again, so he asked for virtual reality goggles and an omnidirectional treadmill.
During ODU’s football game against Wake Forest, Levi and his family were invited onto the field for his Dream Reveal. Thanks to the Chartway Promise Foundation and Toby’s Dream Foundation, Levi can now relive the experience of running using VR goggles and a treadmill. Thousands of football fans in attendance shared this moment and experienced joy with him and his family.
“I just don’t know what I did to deserve it. It’s like, I just got unlucky, but the fact some people want to do anything at all means a lot,” said Levi upon coming off the field after his dream reveal. He added, “Oh yeah, I’m gonna run a marathon—one hundred percent. As soon as I get it, I’m gonna be on that thing non-stop.”
Levi also spent time with Big Blue and wore a jersey to the game given to him by the team during practice, earlier in the week.
Virginia Beach 10-Miler: A Weekend of Dreams
Thousands of runners came from far and near for the inaugural Chartway Virginia Beach 10-Miler at the Oceanfront over Labor Day weekend. Over the two-day race weekend, not only were participants adorned with medals and applause upon completion of their races, but they also had a chance to witness and experience two special wish reveals.
Max, a courageous young hero battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, had his dream revealed during the post-5K-race party on Saturday when Chartway Promise Foundation president Christine Wilson announced he would be going on a daylong fishing trip on a chartered boat thanks to funds provided by the Chartway Promise Foundation to Hooked on Hope VB. This adventure promises moments of relief and comfort for Max and his family during their challenging journey.
During the post-10-miler festivities on Sunday, Wilson announced that 12-year-old Promise hero Kylie and her family would go on a dream vacation to Hawaii. Kylie, who is currently battling cancer, will finally get the chance to sample island delicacies and go on grand adventures thanks to funds from the Chartway Promise Foundation provided to Make-A-Wish® Greater Virginia to fulfill Kylie’s wish.
When asked what she wants to do on her upcoming trip, Kylie said she wants to “crack coconuts!”
"While these wishes were granted during Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, the Chartway Promise Foundation works year-round with local partners who support medically fragile children. Many of the Promise Heroes we serve are pediatric cancer patients; from leukemia, lymphoma, brain tumors, and even ovarian cancer, we have seen children of all ages suffer from this disease,” said Wilson. "The generosity of our partners, sponsors, and volunteers create unforgettable moments for our wish recipients and hundreds of children we'll never meet but impact, nonetheless. We're honored to host these events and special surprises for our pediatric cancer heroes and their families."