NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — Peter Halper is running a 3,076-mile journey across America to raise childhood cancer awareness.
On his way through the Midwest, he stopped Wednesday in Noblesville to visit with 8-year-old Caleb Gunawan, a survivor of neuroblastoma. Caleb was diagnosed in 2017 and fought the cancer off before relapsing in 2018.
“Caleb is nothing short of a warrior,” his dad, Martin, said. “He is the strongest kid I know.”
Martin says Caleb’s diagnosis came with a lot of sometimes painful treatments, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation and surgeries. In spite of all of the challenges, Caleb keeps rising to the occasion. “Even (when) he knows that it’s going to be a painful treatment, he never complained,” Martin said.
However, on the way to an appointment at Riley Children’s Health, they had an opportunity to cross paths with a new friend in the fight. In Peter’s 15th week, he was set to pass through Indiana, with a special part of the journey dedicated to Caleb.
“We’ve had a few conversations on the phone, but this is the first time we have met,” Halper said. “It definitely puts anything that I go through into a different perspective when I compare it to what Caleb has to go through and what his family has to go through.”
Halper decided to use a race across the country as a platform for the cause after his great niece, Emery, lost her battle with neuroblastoma at only 3 years old. Her family launched the Emery Foundation and he started running to support the cause with “Emery’s Thunder Run.”
Caleb took the chance to give Halper a gift to take with him on his journey. He shared his passion for baking.
“Banana bread,” Caleb said. “I made one for Peter.”
“I got a whiff of that banana bread and it smelled awesome,” Halper responded. “I cannot wait to eat that banana bread.”
As he makes his way to the finish line in New York, Halper wants people to join the fight against childhood cancer thinking of how much difference a donation could make for kids battling like Caleb. The goal is to raise $200,000 to help families with treatment and cancer research.
Go to a webpage to keep up with Halper’s journey and get involved with the cause.