Schooling Pediatric Cancer: A Teacher’s Run to Beat Cancer in Honor of his Brother   

Schooling Pediatric Cancer: A Teacher’s Run to Beat Cancer in Honor of his Brother

October 12, 2023

#TeamTKC runner Johnny O’Hanlon, a teacher from Haworth, will be hitting the ground running on Sunday, November 5 at the TCS New York City Marathon in honor of his younger brother, David. For Johnny, it was devastating when David, who was five-years-old at the time, was diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a form of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma most commonly found in children. As worrisome and fearful as he was, hope and support were on the horizon, thanks to the crucial help of Tackle Kids Cancer. 

David was successfully treated for the disease at Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health Children’s Cancer Institute at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital, where he received compassionate care from his physicians, nurses and care teams. Not only did David get the best-in-class care from his expert care teams, but he and his family also had access to much-needed patient support programs, made possible by Tackle Kids Cancer.

“The physicians who are a part of Tackle Kids Cancer were so excellent with him, making him feel at ease,” says Johnny. “Raising funds for Tackle Kids Cancer is the least I can do to give back what they’ve given to my brother. Their mission improves the lives of other children and their families, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of such a meaningful cause.” 

Each year, dozens of runners participate in the TCS New York City Marathon in support of #TeamTKC. In doing so, they raise funds for the organization while tackling their own goals. The O’Hanlon family remains grateful for Tackle Kids Cancer and as a result, Johnny joined #TeamTKC at the suggestion of his sister, Carmella. 

“The programs that Tackle Kids Cancer has had an immense impact on my family and myself in ways I could never imagine,” recalls Johnny. “I witnessed their unwavering dedication to providing hope and support - both emotionally and medically - to my brother. It was both inspiring and humbling. Seeing my brother and the other children who face this challenge with courage and resilience is really inspirational.” 

Although Johnny has been running since he was in high school, the TCS New York City Marathon will be his first. A history teacher and track & field coach at Rutherford High School, Johnny also coaches cross-country at North Arlington High School. And, he finds time to run 80-90 miles a week in training for the marathon. The regimen, he said, gives him purpose and focus. “Running has been a way to keep my mental clarity when things get tough,” he says. “My days are long and regimented, but very rewarding.” 

We are cheering for Johnny and wish him, and the rest of #TeamTKC, the best of luck in next month’s marathon! With their support, we will be able to continue funding the vital pediatric cancer research and patient care programs that benefit our patients. To learn more about Tackle Kids Cancer, or to make a gift today, visit TackleKidsCancer.org or contact Richard Knupp, vice president, Development, North at richard.knupp@hmhn.org.

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