Columbia preschool fundraiser for St. Jude gets personal

Preschool's annual fundraiser turns personal.
Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 7:19 PM CDT
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COLUMBIA, Miss. (WDAM) - Youngsters at the First Baptist Church Preschool and Daycare in Columbia were out for more than just a joyride on their tricycles Friday morning.

The preschool’s traditional trike-a-thon raises money for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

But, this year came with a twist, as the annual fundraiser took on even a deeper meaning for the preschool’s children and parents.

Back in the spring, one of the preschool’s children, 3-year-old Kennedy Ramos, was diagnosed with a rare form of eye cancer.

“Kennedy Ramos was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma,” said Lynn Broom, First Baptist Church Preschool/Daycare director. “Within a two-week period, her eye was removed, a prosthetic device was put in place and she was returned to school.”

And Friday morning, Kennedy Ramos, her twin sister, Karlee, and her parents, Tommy and Olivia Ramos, were among the 14th annual St. Jude Trike-a-Thon’s most enthusiastic participants.

“As far as St. Jude, they were a blessing to me and my family,” Tommy Ramos said. “When we got there, they told us, ‘You might as well leave your wallet in the car.’ Everything was paid for. We had overwhelming support from the community as well.”

Olivia Ramos said she hadn’t really considered St. Jude and its mission before her daughter needed the hospital’s services.

“Usually at checkout, when they asked for a dollar donation or something,” she said. “That’s when I’d think about them. That was it.”

Now, the facility is someplace she will never forget.

“But, now, it’s a little different,” Olivia Ramos said. “We donate as much as we can now, kind of help out wherever we can, and talk about them whenever we can and advocate for them. "

Kennedy Ramos is now cancer-free, her parents said.

Broom said the 14th annual St. Jude Trike-a-Thon raised more than $5,000 for the hospital.

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