Chris Arnold, 56, of Baldwinsville is the President and race director of Paige’s Butterfly Run, which will enter its 19th year this Saturday, June 6, at James M. Hanley Federal Building in Syracuse, NY. Arnold’s daughter Paige died from Leukemia in 1994 while in second grade.
“She was a very pretty, nice girl,” Arnold said. “She was very concerned with others around her, more so than other kids are.”
After being diagnosed at age 6, Paige went through experimental therapy at what is now called the Dr. William J. Waters Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, where she eventually underwent a bone marrow transplant in Boston, MA. The transplant Paige needed was not performed in Syracuse back in 1994 and still is not today.
After receiving the bone marrow transplant from a donor, due to her sister Alex not being a match, the outcome took a turn for the worst. The marrow Paige received from her donor was not a perfect match. Paige died on August 18, 1994 at Children’s Hospital in Boston, MA .
“She was a trooper,” Arnold said. “She had very good patience.”
The idea for Paige’s Butterfly Run was brought to Arnold and his wife, Ellen Yeomans, by a handful of teacher’s from Paige’s elementary school, Palmer Elementary, in Baldwinsville just three years after Paige’s death. One of the teachers was a runner, so it was decided that a run/walk was a good way to honor Paige. The butterfly reference is a metaphor pertaining to Paige and her life.
“Butterflies are pretty and fragile, but they’re strong,” Arnold said. “She was a very strong, resilient, beautiful little creature.”
Paige’s Butterfly Run is completely volunteer-based and is run out of Arnold’s home. “We try to be extremely good stewards with the money that is given to us,” he said.
Last year, Paige’s Butterfly Run raised roughly $275,000 between its three events, which include a USAT&F certified 5K race, a fun fitness run/walk, a caterpillar crawl for children age 5 and younger and donations made through the official website, pbrun.org.
Paige’s Butterfly Run is no longer only held in honor of Paige, but also to help fund research and other patient programs. Of the $275,000 received in 2014, $224,000 went toward four different funds, while the remaining $51,000 went toward the event itself, as well as insurance. These funds included Paige’s Cancer research Fund, Paige’s Family Assistance Fund, which helps families with financial trouble due to their child’s illness, the Paige Yeoman Arnold Memorial Endowment Fund, where a portion will be used to fund future research at Upstate, and Paige’s Family Fun Fund, which provides the Child Life Specialists on both the inpatient and outpatient floors of the Dr. William J. Waters Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders with resources for holiday celebrations, fun activities, and birthdays during their stay at the hospital.
Arnold stressed that where the money goes is extremely important. Over $2 million has been raised since Paige’s Butterfly Run began.
“We do this in Paige’s memory,” Arnold said. “But now it’s also about today and tomorrow’s patients.”
Just The Facts:
When: Saturday June 6, 2015
Where: James M. Hanley Federal Building, 100 S. Clinton Street, Syracuse, NY 13261-7367
Cost: $35 Registration will be at Fleet Feet on Bridge Street from 12 to 7 p.m. Thursday June 4. $40 Registration will be the day of Paige’s Butterfly Run.
Pajamarama is a yearly event where “YOU get to where em’, in honor of kids who HAVE to!” This event allows you to pay to wear your pajamas to school or work. The school or employer get to determine what constitutes as pajamas. This can be done at anytime of the year.