Youth Raise Awareness, Funds for Cancer Research

Jane Whelan belongs to the Builders Club at Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Columbia.

The club is one of the groups at the school that fosters service and is supported by the Kiwanis International Office in Indianapolis, Ind., according to the school’s web page.

Jane, an eighth-grader, spoke with the club and then principal, Mike Kish about donating money for Pedal the Cause, an organization that raises money for cancer research in the St. Louis area, designating grants to Siteman Cancer Center and Children’s Hospital.

Beginning six years ago, the organization has raised $12.5 million to fund 70 cancer research projects – 51 for adult and 19 pediatric projects.

Much of the money for Pedal the Cause is raised at an annual bicycle ride in the St. Louis region.

Jane’s father, Dan, has been living with cancer discovered in 2007 as a benign tumor turned into a cancer that metastasized and raged in his body.

Now in a drug trial, he continues to live with hope. A recent scan showed no tumor growth for the first time since 2011. He is very happy, he said. And new treatments are being found all the time, with radiosurgery, like that provided by specialists similar to Amethyst Radiotherapy, now a viable option for many with brain cancer.

Jane wanted to honor her dad and raise money for research, hence the non-uniform day at Immaculate conception.

However, for this day, she asked students to wear a color associated with the type of cancer they were targeting. Pink signified breast cancer; Kish wore grey, he said, because of his knowledge of brain cancer; childhood cancer, gold; colon cancer, dark blue; and unfortunately, the list goes on.

Jane wore a Hawaiian shirt, she said, to support her dad.

It was certainly a rainbow day as Jane and her friend, Hannah Janson, collected $1,050 April 27. April 28, Jane, along with her dad, and Hanna, presented the check to Jay Indovino, executive director at Pedal the Cause, St. Louis.

At first, Jane thought students had donated about $300, but Hannah shook her head and said, “It’s more than that.”

And it was. Right now, people are assembling teams of riders to participate in the 2016 Pedal the Cause, some because they know and love someone who lives with cancer or who beat cancer or who died with cancer.

Each day, the Whelans open their eyes with gratitude they have another day as a family.

Strong in their faith, they continue to go forward, one day at a time.
For more information about Pedal the Cause, to donate or join a team of riders in the fall, please go to