When Coatesville resident Arianne Missimer was diagnosed with stage 3 sarcoma in March 2015, she did everything she could to keep moving. A fighting spirit propelled her through a year of treatments, and she eventually competed on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior. “Throughout treatment, I focused on training as hard as I could, continuing to move,” she says. “I think, mentally and physically, that helped get me through it.
Last year, Missimer, a registered dietician and physical therapist, became involved with a different athletic venture, Steps to Cure Sarcoma, a 5K and one-mile walk/run to raise awareness and funds for research. Now in its third year, the event takes place June 11 from 9 a.m. to noon at Wayne’s Wilson Farm Park.
A rare disease that affects just over 12,000 Americans each year, sarcoma causes a group of cancers in connective tissues and bones. Due to its relative obscurity, there’s still a long way to go before a cure is discovered. Proceeds from Steps to Cure Sarcoma benefit research at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, as dogs also suffer from the condition. Last year’s event raised $75,000.
Survivors, doctors and even canines have participated in past walks. This year’s event also includes music, raffles and food. “I think it’s a great way to bring together survivors, families, friends and all the people who’ve supported them through that journey together and see the survivors walk,” Missimer says.