Union Knights XC laces up in honor of teammate Craft

Homecoming run to raise funds for pediatric brain cancer research

The 2022 Union Knights girls cross country team including sophomore Kate Craft (center back). PHOTO COURTESY OF JUSTIN PARSON

The Union Knight’s annual Homecoming run is taking on new poignancy this year.

Next Friday, Sept. 30 while Union’s football team is busy readying for their Homecoming match-up with the Oelwein Huskies, members of the school’s cross country team will be lacing up to run the game ball from Dysart to La Porte City but not to fund team expenditures as in years past – instead, the team will be running to raise money for pediatric brain cancer research in honor of sophomore teammate Kate Craft.

To ‘Run for Kate’ – R4K8 – as the fundraiser’s official t-shirts proclaim.

“The fundraiser idea came up when we had a student [Kate Craft] diagnosed with a brain tumor,” Union’s head cross country coach Justin Parson explained in an email to the Telegraph. “It is something that really hit home with me as my father [the late Lee Parson of Charles City] was diagnosed with [a tumor] in 2001. I was always grateful for what Mayo Clinic had done to prolong life for him. … I asked [Craft’s] parents if we could do something to help raise money to support the research of pediatric brain cancer and they said it would be ok.”

The run from Union Middle School in Dysart to Union High School in La Porte City is roughly 19 miles. Runners take off at 3:45 p.m. and run six, separate 5K sections.

Run for Kate t-shirt logo.

The team has a goal of raising $5,000 to be donated to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. The check will be presented to hospital representatives before the football game with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. at Knights Stadium.

“It’s truly an honor to sponsor this fundraiser to help raise awareness,” Parson said in a fundraising campaign video message.

As of Monday, Sept. 19, the campaign – 5k’s for 5k – had raised close to $4,000. Those who would like to donate can do so using the website: https://goldrush.uiowa.edu/r/xVaRkKnWd

Parson said Craft, who is currently undergoing treatment through Mayo Clinic, has continued to be a vital part of the team in any way possible including by walking.

Craft’s mother Sarah Craft has been publicly documenting her daughter’s brain cancer diagnosis and subsequent fight against the disease.

One of Sarah’s most recent posts from earlier this month states, “While our anxiety may never go away, today we celebrate. Kate received word that both her brain and spine MRIs look exceptionally good. She will start two new chemotherapy drugs today. We pray the new meds will be good to her body while also giving her positive results in future scans. We are breathing a sigh of relief. Please continue to keep Kate in your prayers and send good vibes into the world.”