- Posted Wednesday October 28, 2015
15-year-old daughter races to honor mother's battle with cancer
Ahnna Parkhurst promotes scientific research through Laurie's Fund, Accelerating the Cure for Cancer at TGen
PHOENIX, Ariz. - Oct. 28, 2015 - Ahnna
Parkhurst is a precocious and highly motivated teenager. At an age
when most teens can't get a driver's license, Ahnna - a
just-turned-15-year-old from Evans, Ga. - is putting pedal to the
metal in a 400-horsepower V8 racecar that reaches speeds more than
100 mph on the red clay tracks of the southeast U.S.
She's racing for more than the checkered flag. Emblazed in pink on the sides of Ahnna's helmet, jacket collar and racecar are logos for LauriesFund.org, a fund established at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in honor of her mom, Laurie Parkhurst, who for more than a decade has waged a valiant battle against breast, lung and brain cancer.
"You're never too young to make a difference. Every time I touch the gas pedal, I know I'm not just accelerating the car, but I'm also accelerating the cure for cancer through TGen," beamed Ahnna.
As she shoots her late-model car down the raceway, you can tell it's Ahnna at the wheel by her car's front logo for TGen, a Phoenix-based non-profit where some of the nation's top scientists are giving hope and answers to cancer patients like her mom, Laurie.
Laurie's Fund, Accelerating the Cure for Cancer at TGen, has raised more than $111,000 thanks to the generous support from family, friends, business associates rallied by Laurie's husband Michael Parkhurst, Vice President for Golf at Textron Specialized Vehicles.
"We are supportive of the efforts at TGen, which we hope will find answers for the millions of patients battling cancer," said Michael, who recently organized a fund-raising effort around Laurie's birthday.
Laurie's Fund will help speed TGen's discoveries of new treatments and methods of early detection for breast cancer and other cancers.
"With every race, my daughter Ahnna is raising awareness and research dollars for the physicians and scientists at TGen," said Laurie, who has endured multiple rounds of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation treatments to keep her cancers in check. "I am so proud of her and her sister, Sophia (13), Ahnna's racing manager, along with my dedicated husband, Mike. Our family is totally committed."
Ahnna's love of racing led to an impressive run of successes that earned her a spot on the Richard Childress Racing and Team Dillon Racing 2015 national development program.
"Ahnna has an incredible natural talent and is becoming a better driver every time she hits the track. But her success in helping cancer patients through Laurie's Fund at TGen is what really makes her a winner," said Childress.
Over the years, Laurie has undergone more than 20 types of chemotherapies, numerous surgeries, five Gamma Knife procedures, and full- and half-brain radiation treatments. But she has always maintained a positive outlook.
"My resolve has always been to 'Be The Miracle!' I have decided to claim that victory," Laurie said. "As long as I am able, I will fight this disease in hopes to win the war, not just the battles, set before me."
TGen Foundation President Michael Bassoff said, "All of us at TGen are honored by the Parkhurst family's commitment to cancer research. This is truly a remarkable story of how one family inspired the racing community and brought visibility and awareness about TGen's efforts to help cancer patients today."
Find out more about Laurie's story and make a donation. Go to: www.tgen.org/home/tgen-foundation/special-funds, and click on Laurie's Fund.
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Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. TGen is focused on helping patients with neurological disorders, cancer, and diabetes, through cutting edge translational research (the process of rapidly moving research towards patient benefit). TGen physicians and scientists work to unravel the genetic components of both common and rare complex diseases in adults and children. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities literally worldwide, TGen makes a substantial contribution to help our patients through efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. For more information, visit:www.tgen.org. Follow TGen on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @TGen.
TGen Senior Science Writer