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The Huntsman SportsFest Goes Virtual

Thirteen-year-old Allee Curby was looking forward to her second year raising funds for cancer research by running in the Huntsman SportsFest on June 20, 2020. But COVID-19 turned the lively in-person event, filled with cyclists, runners, supporters, and volunteers, into an individual virtual affair. Some people opted out altogether—but Allee wasn’t one of them.

"I couldn’t stop doing what I started back in 2019," she says. "Although we’re in a pandemic, cancer doesn’t stop. People still go to the hospital, they still get treatment, they’re still battling this horrible disease every day."

Allee’s motivation is personal. Both grandparents on her mom’s side were diagnosed with cancer—her grandpa with multiple myeloma in 2015 and her grandma with glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer, in 2019. Allee’s grandma passed away just seven and a half months after being diagnosed, and soon after, Allee’s grandpa’s cancer came back.

"By fundraising, it helps give me hope in knowing that with Huntsman Cancer Institute, we can fight cancer together and hopefully no one will have to go through what my grandpa and grandma have had to fight," she says.

allee standing by sidewalk with words written in chalk

Allee began fundraising for the 2020 SportsFest by holding a yard sale and going door to door to collect donations. But when COVID came along, she moved her efforts to an online fundraising page. By June 2020, she had raised $4,208.

Allee came up with a special way to honor her grandparents through the 5K route she designed for the virtual SportsFest. The route started at her grandparents’ house, wound through their neighborhood, and ended at her grandmother’s gravesite.

group of people standing in cemetery holding signs and balloons

Allee’s family cheered her on as she ran, ringing cowbells as they drove alongside her. Her uncle had written encouraging messages in chalk on the sidewalks, and the family stood with balloons at the finish line.

Allee’s mom, Holly, says she is amazed by her young daughter’s efforts.

"I’m so humbled by her strength and tenacity," says Holly. "Allee sees the bigger picture and sees that other people are impacted by the disease. She amazes me—how she steps up to help others and to serve."