HOUSTON (March 28, 2017)

The battle against brain cancer takes center stage on Sunday, April 2, as patients, supporters and family members converge for the 15th Anniversary Run for the Rose at NRG Park.

Proceeds from the run support critically important pediatric initiatives at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital as well as brain cancer research at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.

The annual event is sponsored by the Dr. Marnie Rose Foundation, a public charity that has donated more than $5.3 million since its inception 2003, much of it raised through the annual races. The run honors Marnie Rose, MD, a beloved first year pediatric medical resident at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital who was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer and later died from complications of the disease.

“Thanks to the continued and gracious support of the Dr. Marnie Rose Foundation, Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in partnership with our colleagues at MD Anderson have been able to provide support for patients while continuing to work diligently to find a cure,” said Susie Distefano, Senior Vice President and CEO of Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. “We are honored to continue the kind of compassionate work that embodies the spirit of Dr. Rose.”

Dr. Rose served as an inspiration to others after she was diagnosed in 2002 and decided to publicly share details of her cancer journey and personal life with a TV crew from the 2002 ABC reality series “Houston Medical.” Rose captured viewers’ hearts with her courage and indomitable spirit. Her death on Aug. 23, 2002, just five weeks after the airing of the show’s final episode, sparked an immense outpouring of grief.

Dr. Rose’s parents, Lanie and Jerry, organized the inaugural race in 2003 to honor their daughter’s memory and empower other patients and families struggling with similar challenges. Since the race was launched, the number of brain tumor survivors participating in the run has increased steadily each year, thanks in part to the medical advances funded by the Dr. Marnie Rose Foundation and practiced at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital and MD Anderson. At last year’s run, more than 5,500 participants registered to race, including 100 brain cancer survivors who led the runners with a short walk to start the race.

“Fifteen years ago, a group of family and friends gathered at our house to help us start a run that would honor Marnie, Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, and MD Anderson Cancer Center,” said Lanie Rose, Marnie’s mother. “At the inaugural Run for the Rose, 1,800 wonderful people came, and we netted $90,000 for our two hospitals. At the time we knew of only one long-term survivor anywhere. What a difference 15 years can make! Our 2017 Run will net over $600,000, host at least 5,800 participants, and have more than 100 brain tumor survivors leading off our race! Thank you for continuing to give so unselfishly of yourselves year after year.”

“The partnership between MD Anderson’s Brain Tumor Program and the Dr. Marnie Rose Foundation has been vitally important,” said Raymond Sawaya, MD, professor and chair, Neurosurgery, MD Anderson. “For 15 years, we have been able to fund innovative clinical trials and translational research that has resulted in advances in treatments and survival benefits for a number of our patients. Some of this research could not get external funding and would not have been possible without the contributions of the foundation. Our entire program is indebted to the extraordinary efforts of Lanie Rose and her team.”

Run for the Rose kicks off at 8 a.m. with a Survivor Stroll, where all participating brain cancer survivors lead the runners with a short walk to start the race. The stroll is followed by the 5K race/walk which includes both timed and non-timed options. A 1K family run/walk is also available, and all participants are invited to join the post-race party, which includes food, drinks, activities for children, music, a silent auction and an inflatable, walk-through brain exhibit. Awards will be presented inside NRG Arena immediately following the race.