A Palm Beach Gardens teen says cancer tore her family apart and that it's being pieced back together she wants to pay it forward, in hopes of helping others fight the disease.
Beckett's Sister Plans Event - Longform Interviews
For 16-year-old Bianca Papa, a pile of boxes sits in the front of her house and they mean a lot.
Each box was donated to Bianca for an event she's spent 8 months planning. Next week the bags will be given out to people participating in the "Running Cancer Out of the Park 5K." The proceeds from the event will go towards St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
"I really just want to give back to the hospital for all they did for my family," she said.
A few years ago Bianca says her family was torn apart when her youngest brother Beckett was diagnosed with cancer.
"The first year of his treatment my mom and brother moved away for the whole year so it was basically just me my sister in my dad," Bianca recalled.
"They had to do a lot of growing up they had to learn how to wash their clothes and make their food," Bianca's mom said.
Through FaceTime and quick weekend trips Bianca watched her 9-year-old brother's health deteriorate.
"He got really skinny he looked really weak and he just didn't look like himself," she said.
Going Through Beckett's Journey Via Photos
So she promised if her little brother got better she would pay it forward and then she got the call.
"We finally thought that he could have his life back and his friends and he could be home with his family," Bianca said.
Eventually, that day came. Now, at 12-years-old Beckett's cancer is in remission and Bianca is keeping her promise through the help of friends and family. She now has dozens of sponsors and more than 200 participants.
"Families that are with St. Jude's they don't pay for one single bill so all of my brother's treatment was paid for and his flights and housing. So if I can help another child with all that, that would be great," she said.
Bianca told WPTV she expects to raise more than $15,000. She is hoping this becomes an annual event.
Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Hobe Sound, FL
Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, 7:30 am
5K (3.1 mile) Run/Walk on a paved course