Hoops for Life 5K honors Sahara "Hoops" Aldridge

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - The name Sahara Aldridge is familiar to many of you. Even if you didn't know the Cape Girardeau girl, you had to admire how she bravely battled brain cancer. It's a fight she lost in November of 2007.

An event Saturday, July 23, honors Sahara and keeps the fight going for other children battling the disease.

Sahara would have been 17 this weekend. Her parents, Shannon and Amy Aldridge, say they plan to celebrate her life with an event that brings together the community for a tough cause.

"My daughter was big on birthday parties, she loved a big birthday party," said Shannon Aldridge. "So I'm throwing the biggest birthday party in Cape Girardeau."

It's a party the Aldridge's invite you to attend.  Shannon and Amy just ask that you bring the same strength and determination to tackle 3.1 miles, that their little girl brought in her fight against cancer.

"Our slogan is -- its' a a tough race for a tough cause," Shannon said.

The "Hoops for Life 5K" is named for the little girl who loved basketball.

It's the second year for the event, a challenging race that means so much more to its organizers.

Money raised in the race goes to the Lucille Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University.  It's a place that helped Sahara in her battle.

"They really put the families first and we were so pleased to be a part of their program and they treated us amazingly while we stayed there," said Amy Aldridge.

Amy says their research is on the forefront of technology to find a cure for brain tumors like Sahara's, so other families can have a cure.

"Our money goes directly their research program," said Amy.  "There's no middle man and we know exactly where it's going so we feel good about that."

That's why the Aldridge's invite you to be a part of the cause that's already grown to 400 plus runners and to also remember the little girl it honors.

"Everyone loves Sahara and that's a big part of it too," Amy said. "It's not about us, it's about her."

Shannon says it's a tough time of year for the family, but community support helps gets them through.

"Sometimes I just think about it and I break down," Shannon said. "I'm sure it's going to be very emotional for me on Saturday like it was last year. It means so much seeing friends coming from Florida, West Virginia and northern Illinois."

The Hoops for Life 5K is Saturday, July 23. The race starts at 8 a.m. in Kiwanis Park in Cape Girardeau. There will be race day registration, just arrive early to sign up.

The event raised $7,500 last year for cancer research.

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