Ahwatukee residents who head over to the Habit Burger Grill just over the I-10 in Chandler on Thursday will be helping out a neighbor.
The Habit Burger at 960 N. 54th St. is joining all 11 other eateries in the chain to help fight child cancer, and an Ahwatukee family is “owning” the campaign at the Chandler spot.
In November 2015, George and Ann Hyduchak knew something wasn’t right with their 5-year-old son, Jace. Their rough-and-tumble boy, the third of four sons, had lost his appetite. Mysterious bruises had begun appearing on his body, and he woke up with bloody noses three days in a row.
After taking him to the doctor, they received the shocking news: Jace had cancer.
Suddenly, their young son was sidelined from soccer and basketball and their family was swept up in a difficult cancer battle marked by chemotherapy, radiation, surgery and aggressive infections. The Hyduchaks stood sentry at Jace’s bedside while trying to maintain a sense of normalcy for their other sons.
Today, 8-year-old Jace is cancer-free.
Now the Hyduchaks are giving back – through advocacy for pediatric cancer and at events like the Run to Fight Children’s Cancer.
Next up, the family is mobilizing its community – Team Jace’s Defenders – to enjoy lunch or dinner at The Habit in Chandler to raise money for families just like theirs.
The Habit Burger Grill is teaming up with Chandler-based Children’s Cancer Network and childhood cancer survivors for the campaign, in which it will donate 20 percent of sales from guests who present a flier at the time of purchase.
It’s the second year that The Habit has partnered with Children’s Cancer Network to support local families battling the disease.
This event will include a friendly competition among childhood cancer families who will vie for the most funds raised among the 12 participating restaurants, including locations in Chandler, Gilbert and Tempe.
“Giving back to the communities we serve is a vital part of our mission at The Habit Burger Grill,” said Chepe Valdez, Habit Burger Grill district manager in Arizona. “We are thrilled to help children and families facing childhood cancer and hope to help ease their burden.”
Proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit Children’s Cancer Network’s Run to Fight Children’s Cancer, scheduled Saturday, March 16, at Grand Canyon University.
The ninth annual event features a 10K run, a 5K run/walk, and a quarter-mile Cancer Survivors Walk to honor children who have beaten cancer, the kids who are still fighting, and those who have passed away.
An estimated 15,270 adolescents and children ages 19 and younger were diagnosed with cancer in 2017, according to the National Cancer Institute.
The number of childhood cancer survivors tops 420,000, and more than 60 percent of survivors experience chronic and even life-threatening secondary effects from toxic cancer treatments. Still, childhood cancer is the most overlooked and underfunded category in all of cancer research.
“Events like Run to Fight Children’s Cancer help fill the gaps in funding for pediatric cancer,” said Patti Luttrell, co-founder and executive director of the nonprofit organization.
Since its inception, the race has raised nearly $600,000, with all funds staying in Arizona and directly benefiting families through Children’s Cancer Network and Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
To download a flier, visit Children’s Cancer Network on Facebook.