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Pace-a-thon planned in honor of Bianka Kucelin, 5, who lost battle with cancer

Business Decatur Kirkwood and East Lake

Pace-a-thon planned in honor of Bianka Kucelin, 5, who lost battle with cancer

Bianka. Source: https://biankakucelin.wordpress.com/
Bianka. Source: https://biankakucelin.wordpress.com/

Bianka. Source: https://biankakucelin.wordpress.com/

Bianka Kucelin lost her battle with a rare, aggressive form of brain cancer at age 5 on July 29, 2015.

But her spirit lives on. The Bianka Butterfly Fund, established through the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, has raised nearly $50,000 to study supratentorial neuroectodermal brain tumors.

Indoor cycling studio Pace23 is holding Bianka’s Pace-a-thon to honor her memory and keep the money for cancer research flowing.

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“You can participate in Bianka’s Pace-a-thon by joining one of 23 teams for the ride on Sunday, Sept. 25th, 2016 from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.,” the event announcement says. “With your help, we hope to raise $10,000 to contribute to cancer research, raise awareness and honor the life of Bianka Kucelin.”

The event has already surpassed its goal, raising more than $11,000 as of Sept. 14, but donations are still accepted. To donate, click here.

Emily Kinley, one of the co-owners of Pace23, said each rider has to commit to $100 for each hour they ride.

“We have a few brave souls who are going to ride all four hours,” she said.

Kinley and business partner, Laura Wheeler, are both Decatur residents who were moved by Bianka’s story.

“We knew of her story and it really resonated in the community,” Kinley said.

Bianka’s story didn’t end with her passing in 2015. According to the website for her Butterfly Fund, her tumor was donated to further medical research.

“Bianka’s tumor tissue was donated for research to two organizations and research teams: Dr. Anna Janss’s team at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta who was Bianka’s wonderful oncologist and Dr. Annie Huang’s team at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto,” the website says. “We are especially excited that Dr. Huang received the viable cells and will be able to grow cell lines, only [the] second PNET cell line in the whole research community. Hopefully Bianka’s tumor will bring some research discoveries and new therapies for this very malignant, rare, and deadly tumor.”

The organizers of the fund hope it will fund at least one research grant. The organizers will need to raise more than $100,000 to make that possible.

The fund’s website says Bianka loved butterflies.

“She was beautiful but short lived, just like butterflies,” the website says.

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