Triathlon gives kids a chance to help others

Ellie Kearns, at right, with her sister Keevan outside the Tenleytown Metro station Friday as they sold cookies and lemonade to raise money for Just Tryan It. (WTOP/Max Smith)

WASHINGTON – Ellie Kearns, 10, of Washington, lost her grandmother to ovarian cancer, and her grandfather is battling lymphoma.

Along with dozens of other local kids, she will go an extra mile – up to 2.7 miles, actually – to help families of pediatric cancer patients at Georgetown Hospital.

A fourth-grader at Sheridan School in Northwest D.C., Ellie says she decided to participate in the kids triathlon fundraiser in honor of her grandmother after she and her mom found information on it in a magazine.

The Just Tryan It triathlon, to be held next month at the Landon School in Bethesda, is for kids ages 6 through 14. It includes a swim, bike and run, just like a full triathlon, but the distances are kid-sized.

A women’s running group started the race three years ago, after the six-year-old son of one of their members was diagnosed with leukemia in late 2009. Today, he is celebrating his successful treatment.

“I’ve been running about one or two miles twice a week, and now I’m doing it more often,” Kearns says. “I have been training for the swim each Sunday.”

The June race will be her second youth triathlon.

So far, Kearns says she has raised more than $1,000. Part of it has come from lemonade stands like the one she set up Friday morning with her mom outside the Tenleytown Metro station, with the rest coming from friends and family.

The charity says the money raised will help parents of kids with cancer pay for necessities such as the mortgage and transportation.

To learn more about the triathlon, visit the website.

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