Hugs for Brady 5K continues mission to end childhood cancer

Staff Writer

 Sherrie Wells kisses her baby, Brady, who died at 23 months after battling leukemia.  PHOTO COURTESY OFOFKD PHOTOGRAPHY Sherrie Wells kisses her baby, Brady, who died at 23 months after battling leukemia. PHOTO COURTESY OFOFKD PHOTOGRAPHY SOUTH BRUNSWICK — The mission to end childhood cancer continues.

The Hugs for Brady Foundation’s fifth annual Twilight 5K and Kids Fun Run is set for May 16.

The foundation provides funding for the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology program at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

The foundation is named in honor of Brady Wells of South Brunswick, who battled nondifferentiated acute leukemia. Brady was born in 2008 and was diagnosed at 13 months old. He died at 23 months old after six rounds of chemotherapy and a peripheral blood stem-cell transplant.

“I am forced to acknowledge every day that I lost a son to a disease that could have been prevented if someone cared more, if someone were willing to act for the love of a child, of children everywhere,” Brady’s mother, Sherrie Wells, said. “So many — too many — parents face that same reality every day, holding their sick child’s hand and telling them that ‘everything will be all right’ when they know full well what the odds are.”

Since its inception, the Hugs for Brady Foundation has raised more than $1 million.

In 2014, Hugs for Brady distributed more than 200,000 bouquets of flowers to six local hospitals and countless individuals. The Brady Buggy program resulted in 56 custom-built wagons being distributed to more than 40 children’s hospitals. The foundation held six blood, platelet and marrow drives across the state.

At New York Presbyterian Hospital, Hugs for Brady installed a specialized, sedation free magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine that allows children to watch movies throughout the process of getting an MRI. Organizers also finished renovating two public areas at the Bristol-Myers Squibb cancer center to improve the quality of life of children and families undergoing treatment, and donated $300,000 to the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey to create a new research program that changed the course of treatment for children who are now thriving.

For 2015, the focus will be on research toward finding a cure, enhancing the foun- dation’s young investigator program and putting a Brady Buggy Wagon in every cancer institution in the U.S., Wells said.

“Despite the fact that childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under age 15 in the United States, not a single new pediatric cancer drug has been introduced in the last five years and less than 5 percent of federal funding for cancer research is dedicated to pediatric cancer, a number that is only getting smaller,” she said.

The event on May 16 will begin at 3 p.m. with registration, vendor areas, refreshments, live music by Sounds Like Harmony and a DJ, entertainment by ventriloquist Bob Conrad, circus acts, a bounce house, a visit by Miss New Jersey International 2015 and children’s activities at South Brunswick High School, 750 Ridge Road, Monmouth Junction.

Online registration will be accepted through May 12. The cost is $25 for the 5K and $15 for the fun run.

Packet pickup is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. May 14 and 5-7 p.m. May 15 at the Princeton Running Company, 108 Nassau St., Princeton.

On race day, registration fees will be $35 for the 5K and $20 for the fun run.

The children’s fun run will begin at 5:30 p.m., led by Sparkee and Slider of the Somerset Patriots.

The 5K will begin at 6 p.m. for walkers and runners.

At 6:30 p.m., an award ceremony will be held, followed by giveaways and raffles.

Those interested in registering may visit To sponsor the 5K, visit -kids-fun-run. To volunteer, visit

In addition, Club One Fitness of Monmouth Junction will hold Cycle for a Cause on May 2 to benefit the Hugs for Brady Foundation. Cycling times are 8 a.m. to noon, on the hour. The suggested donation is $15.

To register, call 732-230-3205 or visit Cash will not be accepted.