Rachael's Story

Rachael Olivia Gleason was born March 25, 2006. Less than three years later, she lost her battle with pediatric cancer.  Here's her story, in her father's words:
I’m Bob Gleason, Rachael’s father. A couple months before her second birthday, I received a call from her daycare. She was ill and not acting normal. I picked her up and brought her to the doctor, thinking she had a typical winter bug. To be safe, the doctor ran blood work to compare it to a sample they had taken not long before. It came back abnormal and he also noticed that her belly felt hard and was distended. On his advice, we rushed Rachael to Children’s Hospital at Greenville Health System for tests.

Rachael had a large tumor, a neuroblastoma that had no known “cure.” Treatment would take up to two years to complete. She would need six rounds of chemo, surgery, radiation, a stem cell transplant, and more. Her aggressive tumor didn’t allow her enough time and her battle with pediatric cancer ended nine months after it began. She was 2 years and 8 months old.

Our family was heartbroken. We watched Rachael endure countless needle sticks, four central line placements, rounds of chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant, four major surgeries, tube placements, bone marrow biopsies, countless scans, a destroyed immune system medications and other treatments that had terrible side-effects, and much more. Yet through all that, Rachael ran her race with courage, love, and grace. Even until the end, her eyes danced and she always managed to smile.

Rachael has gone to be with God, but she will live on in the lives of everyone she touched in her short time here. Rachael has changed my family forever.

In the wake of Rachael's passing, I wanted to do something to help families like mine. We decided to have an event called Rachael’s Run to commemorate her life and to raise funds and awareness for families fighting childhood cancer. Rachael's Run 5k and Family Fun Run has raised over $50,000 for pediatric cancer since its start in 2009.

Get Involved

If you'd like more information on supporting patients and families, contact Philanthropy & Partnership Director of Children's Services Crissy Maynard at (864) 797-7735 or cmaynard@ghs.org.

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