EVERETT — Hunter Rose Jones arrived prepared for the annual Prince of Peace Preschool trike-a-thon, a blue bike helmet already fastened to her tiny head.
As the event began a determined look was plastered on the 4-year-old’s face, but after a few laps a smile began to form.
Each year the preschool hosts a trike-a-thon to raise money for Seattle Children’s Hospital, but this year’s event April 19 held extra meaning. Hunter Rose is not just a classmate; she is also a patient at the hospital.
She began treatment last year at Seattle Children’s Hospital after being diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma, a cancer of the nerve cells, in September.
The money from this year’s event will once again be donated to Seattle Children’s Hospital but this time in honor of Hunter Rose.
“We try to teach children how to give back,” said Michelle Nilsen, director of the Prince of Peace Preschool.
Hunter Rose’s biggest cheerleader, her older brother, Reeder, 6, was right along her side as the preschooler joined her classmates completing laps around the school’s parking lot on bikes and scooters.
“Until last night we weren’t sure if she was going to be able to ride,” said Jay Jones, Hunter Rose’s father.
It was during a routine dentist appointment Hunter Rose’s cancer was discovered. After five rounds of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, Hunter Rose is officially in remission and cancer-free, according to her dad, but her treatment continues. A second stem cell transplant is upcoming and is expected to keep Hunter Rose in the hospital for at least a month.
Jones said Hunter Rose’s treatment will last until March 2019 and the worst might be yet to come. After her second stem cell transplant and more radiation treatment, immunotherapy will follow.
“The doctors described immunotherapy like injecting liquid fire into the veins,” Jones said.
During her hospital visits, Hunter Rose spent many of the long hours biking up and down the hallways racking up the miles. So far she’s accrued roughly 16 hospital hallway miles, with a goal of reaching a full marathon during her next in-patient stay.
By the end of the trike-a-thon, Hunter Rose, now giggling along with her fellow classmates who she rarely gets to see because of her illness, was not ready for the event to be over.
“Being around her friends brings about a totally different girl,” said her mother, Kara Jones.
For Hunter Rose the best part was “raising money for the other kids in the hospital.”
The trike-a-thon raised $5,336, which Hunter Rose presented to the hospital.
The Jones family encourages the community to make additional donations in honor of Hunter Rose to Seattle Children’s Hospital, which can be done by calling 206-987-4844 or by going to the hospital’s website. The community can follow Hunter Rose’s progress on Facebook.
Lizz Giordano: 425-374-4165; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @lizzgior.