Lester fourth grader overcomes cancer, leads effort to raise awareness

Lester fourth grader Penelope received a devastating diagnosis last April: she had Spitzoid Melanoma, which is a rare form of skin cancer. Doctors performed two surgeries to remove the tumor and surrounding tissue, and afterwards, thankfully, they confirmed that the cancer was gone. Penelope will require quarterly check-ups to monitor her health for at least the next five years. 

Rather than discourage her, this frightening experience empowered Penelope to make a difference. She and her family learned about Jack’s Fund, a nonprofit that raises awareness about the risks of melanoma.  Locally, Jack’s Fund is hosting its 16th Annual “This Run’s for Jack” 5K Walk/Run in Glen Ellyn on Sunday, Oct. 20. Penelope’s family formed “Team Penelope” to raise awareness and donations to support this organization, and contributors include Lester families and staff.

“Penelope is focusing on raising awareness for melanoma and other skin cancers and trying to turn what she has been through into something positive,” Jill said. “We have already been extremely blessed by the Lester staff and community, and we thank them all!”

When Jack’s Fund learned about Penelope’s story, they asked her to serve as the race starter for “This Run’s for Jack.” 

“She was thrilled when I found out about Jack’s Fund and that we could help by participating and even more excited when invited to be the official race starter,” Jill said. “It’s an incredible opportunity to give back.” 

Learn more about Team Penelope. Learn more about This Run’s for Jack.

Photos provided by Penelope’s family.