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Meet Honoree Charlie and Runner Shawnee


This month, we are excited to introduce you to Charlie. Charlie, a vibrant soul born in June, was known to fill up a room with laughter and his love for running. However, his life took a heartbreaking turn when he was diagnosed with incurable brain cancer. Despite the odds, Charlie’s unwavering determination to fight is genuinely inspiring.

Charlie’s lively spirit matched his favorite colors: bright green and a tie-dye fusion. He was sassy, funny, kind, and a loyal friend that made everyone around him smile. Whether Charlie was speeding across the lacrosse field or weaving through the basketball court, he was always on the move.

His eclectic taste in music mirrored his colorful personality, ranging from classic rock anthems to the humorous “bad lip reading” Star Wars song (watch video here). Charlie loved jamming out with his siblings to Coldplay and Weezer, finding joy in every beat. A movie buff, he immersed himself in epic sagas like Star Wars, fueling his sense of adventure and wonder. A true Star Wars fanatic, Charlie adored Chewbacca and Yoda, even owning a custom lightsaber that emitted the iconic sound. Charlie’s story is one of joy, laughter, and boundless energy, leaving a mark on everyone he encounters. When it came to food, Charlie’s love for pie was unmatched. He believed that “Pie is better than pity!” and always indulged in a slice whenever he could.

But Charlie felt the most alive in the woods, running trails and competing in cross-country and track races; this is when he first noticed something was wrong. Charlie was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, DIPG, a rare and aggressive brain tumor. He refused to let cancer dictate his life, took charge of his health, and actively sought out experimental treatments in pursuit of hope and time.

Charlie’s journey was not just about his fight. He became a pillar of support for others in the DIPG community. He attended research conferences, fearlessly participated in clinical trials, and provided invaluable peer support to those newly diagnosed, leaving an indelible mark on their lives.

Charlie passed away at 17, but his legacy lives on. He gifted his body to Stanford University for research, hoping to advance DIPG treatment. His actions showed resilience, advocacy, and the impact of one individual on medical research.

Let’s celebrate Charlie’s memory this month by rocking a groovy tie-dye shirt! 


Runner Spotlight

Meet Shawnee, a dedicated runner from Los Angeles, California. Shawnee’s running journey began in August 2022 after she conquered Mount Whitney and sought the next challenge. With sheer determination and a goal in mind, Shawnee set her sights on running a marathon before her birthday in 2023. In an astonishing display of grit and perseverance, she accomplished this feat by completing the LA Marathon and setting her sights on the Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World Marathon weekend, all within less than a year of starting her running journey.

Shawnee’s motivation for running extends far beyond personal fitness goals. For the second year running, she dedicates her miles to raising awareness and funds for Dragon Master Initiative, a cause that resonates deeply with her. Shawnee’s most beloved person in her life, David, tragically lost his parents to cancer. She carries David and the memory of his loved ones with her as she trains and races, fueling her determination to make a difference. Shawnee takes every step with purpose and compassion, hoping to contribute towards finding a cure and providing support to families grappling with this devastating disease. Her efforts provide hope for those affected by cancer, and her story is a call to action for all of us.

Shawnee’s unwavering commitment to her running goals and charitable efforts is inspiring. Her infectious joy and determination illuminate a path for others to follow. Shawnee is a living testament to the transformative power of running, showcasing how it can be a catalyst for personal growth and a platform for positively impacting the world. Keep shining!

Shawnee’s Fundraising Tip
Shawnee suggests tapping into your hobbies and sharing your talents for fundraising. Shawnee’s creative idea of hosting “Paint Parties” is a delightful way to raise funds for Dragon Master Initiative! By sharing her artistic talents, she creates a fun way for people to get involved and raise money for a good cause. It’s a win-win situation that brings people together in a fun and meaningful way.


Author: Sarah Zuk