Bengals’ coach challenges Cincinnati to go extra ‘100 Miles’ for pediatric cancer research

As his team prepares for the start of its season, the Cincinnati Bengals head coach is calling on local fans, residents, organizations and corporations to get in the game in the battle against childhood cancer.

Coach Zac Taylor is one of the public advocates for the CancerFree KIDS 100 Mile Challenge, presented by Chard Snyder. The 30-day fitness and fundraising campaign takes place every September in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

The concept is simple: perform 100 miles of some form of physical activity throughout the month and raise $100 for the nonprofit Cincinnati-based health research foundation CancerFree KIDS.

This is the third year of the 100 Mile Challenge. To date, the annual campaign has raised over $325,000.

“While we’re working hard on the field, you can work hard to support pediatric cancer research,” Taylor states in a campaign video created for CancerFree Kids.

“I’m proud to support CancerFree KIDS and the wonderful work this organization does for kids currently in treatment and those who have previously battled cancer,” the first-year NFL head coach told Movers & Makers Magazine. “I encourage everyone to participate in the CancerFree KIDS 100 Mile Challenge to help fund life-saving childhood cancer research.”

Ellen Flannery founded CancerFree KIDS in 2002 after her daughter, Shayna, received a cancer diagnosis as a baby.

Thanks to advancements in pediatric cancer research, Shayna is now a healthy, cancer-free college graduate. But through that experience, Ellen’s family discovered the drastic need for funding to support pediatric cancer research. 

Today, CancerFree KIDS funds early-stage pediatric cancer research at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus

Over the course of more than two decades, the organization has awarded 194 research grants, totaling $8.2 millionAll money raised through this campaign goes toward childhood cancer research.

Those dollars are important, Jill Brinck, CancerFree KIDS’ executive director said, because only a fraction of funding from the government directly goes to pediatric cancer research.

100 Mile Challenge participants Greg and Kim Carroll complete some of their miles during a trip to Budapest.

Those wanting to take part can choose pretty much any sport or activity. Running and walking are popular, but a person could also include yoga, cycling or even gardening. Taylor’s preferred sporting endeavor is football, obviously.

While CancerFree KIDS’ operations are in Cincinnati, anyone across the world is able to take part. There are currently 24 states taking part.

Brinck expects this to be the biggest campaign yet.

“We have already been blown away by the support for the 100 Mile Challenge so far this year,” she added.

Those interested in taking part can do so as an individual or part of a community team. CancerFree KIDS also invites local businesses and organizations to take part in the Corporate Competition. The winning teams will have a 2023 CancerFree KIDS research grant named in their honor.

To participate, each individual must submit a $25 registration to CancerFree KIDS. The fee includes the 100 Mile Challenge t-shirt and two tickets to the CancerFree KIDS Celebration of Champions after-party concert on Sept. 29. 

Participants will also receive other perks throughout the month, including discounted registration to the Pig Works fall races and a one-month free membership to Planet Fitness, if they’re new members.

All fundraising and mile tracking is done online through the participants’ fundraising pages.

“It’s truly inspiring to see our participants come together from so many different families, community organizations and businesses to join us in giving hope to kids battling cancer,” Brinck said.

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