Wadena's annual event focused on running over pediatric cancer will be fraught with tutus, crowns, warriors and if that's not enough, Miss Minnesota plans to make an appearance as well.

The Princess Warrior 5K Run, Walk, Roll or Stroll is next Saturday, Sept. 28, and it looks to continue to achieve what Jane Fiemeyer always hoped it would - raising awareness about pediatric cancer, recognizing young heroes and their families fighting the battle, and having a good time doing it.

Same-day registration opens at 8:30 a.m. and the 5K starts at approximately 10 a.m. at Tapley Park in Wadena. The 5k will be preceded with messages from Jake Krause, an inspiring pediatric cancer survivor and Wadena-Deer Creek graduate, and Kathryn Kueppers, Miss Minnesota 2019.

Those taking part in the run/walk are typically cheered on by fans along the route. If you go, expect some friendly faces offering refreshments and encouragement along the way.

Stay after the 5K and join the fun in the park and lunch served by the Wadena Lions. The whole family can enjoy the inflatables, carnival games, face painting and vendors at the park.

Last year's event was the biggest on record and event organizer and mother of Jane, Jil Fiemeyer, said the event has seen success thanks to Jane being a big dreamer.

"I think we've had her spirit guiding us to big places," Fiemeyer said.

The 2018 event had over 500 participants, which includes virtual participants. Yes, as long as you're registered, you can take part anywhere.

Honored warriors

Like other years, Courageous Kids Princess Warrior Partners are honored and their families receive a portion of funds raised from the 5K event. This year that list includes three area kids. That's down from previous years, but not a bad thing.

"Three is going to be three too many," Fiemeyer said.

Jake Rodriguez
Submitted photo
Jake Rodriguez Submitted photo

Jake Rodriguez

Jake, age 9, was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma just a couple weeks after his ninth birthday party. In November of 2018, Jake was having issues with labored breathing and a chest x-ray indicated a “white suspicious mass” on his lung area that was large enough it was pushing on his heart and trachea. It was immediately recommended they go to Children’s in Minneapolis where it was confirmed that Jake had Lymphoma.

Jake and Ben (his twin brother) were honored as the 2017 Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) “Boys of the Year” in honor of their mom. Jake and Ben's mom Erika passed away from acute myeloid leukemia (AML) when the boys were 3. Jake and Ben have spent their entire short lives honoring their mom and keeping her memory alive. Jake has ties to the Wadena area.

Charlie Blixt, 4, is one of the three warriors to be honored at this year's Princess Warrior event slated for Saturday, Sept. 28.
Submitted photo
Charlie Blixt, 4, is one of the three warriors to be honored at this year's Princess Warrior event slated for Saturday, Sept. 28. Submitted photo

Charlie Blixt

Charlie, of Sebeka, was also a 2017 Honored Cancer Kiddo, who has sadly relapsed.

Charlie was originally diagnosed with infant ALL (acute lymphocytic leukemia) at 4 ½ months old. Charlie just turned 4 on September 3 and would have started his first year of preschool with his best friend and cousin Nash.

Taylor Johnson
Submitted photo
Taylor Johnson Submitted photo

Taylor Johnson

Taylor, age 5, is from Perham and started kindergarten this year. She was diagnosed with ALL (acute lymphocytic leukemia) in January. Taylor is just finishing up her interim maintenance phase of treatment this month and will go into full maintenance at the end of the month. She will continue with monthly treatments that will take up to two more years.

Taylor is the daughter of Tricia and Matt and she has two older sisters, Madilyn and Ava. Taylor loves being outdoors and enjoys playing with her dog, camping and fishing.

About Princess Warrior

The PW Foundation was started to help raise awareness about childhood cancer and raise funds for families with kids fighting cancer; organizations such as CureSearch and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society; and for other Jane-like activities.

The board and other volunteers put on the 5K each year around Jane’s birthday because it was Jane's request before she died that a legacy 5K would help raise money so that other kids and their families would not have to go through the pain she did.

The money raised from Princess Warrior fundraising efforts, especially the 5K Run, Walk, Roll, Stroll or Crawl is used for annual scholarship to a WDC graduating senior, gift cards and care packages for newly diagnosed families, Christmas gifts for cancer kids, multiple donations to organizations like CureSearch and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and they've given Buddy Benches to WDC and Bertha schools for their playgrounds to encourage friendship and being Jane-like.

Most recently the group implemented a grant program that cancer families (or loved ones on their behalf) can apply for money to help them w/ financial burdens brought on by cancer. Starting last year, the Princess Warrior Foundation chose specific kids in treatment within the last year to receive net proceeds from this year’s race and donations received between August and the end of this month.

Learn more about the Princess Warrior Foundation and the annual Run, Walk, Roll, Stroll or Crawl by scrolling through the Facebook page or on their website at www.PrincessWarriorWadena.com.

If you go

What: Princess Warrior 5K Run, Walk, Roll, Stroll or Crawl

When: Saturday, Sept. 28. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m., take off at 10 a.m.

Where: Wadena's Tapley Park, 617 Lincoln Ave. SW

Why: Event raises money for pediatric cancer victims and families, scholarships and for cancer research. Opportunities to participate in 5K or enjoy fun, games and food at the park during the event.