WHEELING - Hines David Rotriga's battle with stage IV neuroblastoma continues, and Ohio Valley runners and walkers have the opportunity to join the fight in the first ever Team Hines Rotriga 2 Mile Walk and Run on October 5 in Wheeling.
Hines' aunt Laura Rotriga said Ron Green, director of the Debbie Green 5k Race Committee, attended a meeting of the Hope for Hines grassroots campaign to suggest the race.
"He said maybe we could do a walk for Hines to maybe make people more aware of childhood cancer and neuroblastoma," Laura Rotriga said. "I know I'd never heard of this cancer before Hines."
Anna Padden, left, and Britney Padden prepare for the Hines Rotriga 2 Mile Walk and Run at the Hope For Hines headquarters at Miklas Meat Market in Woodsdale.
Green is no stranger to battles against childhood cancer, having lost his sister Debbie Green in 1972 after two long years of battling leukemia. The Debbie Green 5k Run/Walk, Green Mile and Debbie's Dash benefit local children who also face leukemia.
"We just wanted to put on this race to help this little boy out," Green said. "We just want to do our part, to raise as much as we can."
Registration for the walk/run will begin at the Debbie Green events, with registration still open at www.debbiegreen5k.com all the way up to the morning of the race on Oct. 5 when packet pickup and last-minute registration will begin at 7 a.m. at the Wesbanco Arena in Wheeling. Registration includes the event, a shirt, awards for winners, door prizes and food afterward.
In June, Laura Rotriga said Hines' MRI and MIGB scans showed no disease or tumors in his system after several months of chemotherapy and surgeries since being diagnosed with stage IV cancer.
"We're very very hopeful that this will never come back," Laura Rotriga said. "Hines is a tough little kid. He's smart as a tack and absolutely, just precious."
"I think every runner and walker in this valley knows who Hines is and what he's going through," Green said. "I want to challenge them all to participate and bring their friends."