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Alexandria Teens Unite to Fight Childhood Cancer by Hiking

Joseph Campione, a survivor of childhood cancer, and his friends Lauren Allen and Erik Gunderson, are organizing a fundraising hike along the George Washington Memorial Parkway

Left to right: Gunderson, Campione, and Allen (Photo courtesy of the Campione Family)

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Joseph Campione, a survivor of childhood cancer, and his friends Lauren Allen and Erik Gunderson, are organizing a fundraising hike along the George Washington Memorial Parkway. It is scheduled for Sunday, March 5. Participate and help raise money for childhood cancer research. These friends chose the DC Metro area so the hike would be easily accessible to their friends, fellow students, family and anyone who wants to support the cause.

A Survivor’s Story

As an infant, Campione was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma. His cutting-edge treatments, including proton therapy, allowed him to beat cancer, and he is now a healthy, active teenager.

“Other kids aren’t as lucky as me,” said Campione, “I can walk because my parents took a risk with the type of radiation that I received.”

When asked what title he uses for himself, Campione – now a junior in high school – responded, “I like to go by survivor, but for me in my life right now it is less about what people call me, and more about what I can do to help other people.”

About the Hike

The friends decided to organize a 14-mile hike beginning at Riverside Park in Fort Hunt. Starting at 9:30 a.m. programming will take place with first-hand accounts and multiple speakers. Hikers will be staggered for the trek, traveling through Jones Point Park, with the goal of having everyone finish around the same time at Gravelly Point Park.

Hikers of all ages and abilities are encouraged to come out and help kick cancer out of the neighborhood. Everyone will have the chance to find a comfortable participation level, so if 14 miles is too much, you will have the option to choose the length of your hike. The length of the course is challenging, but the terrain is easily walkable.

The Three friends hike together regularly to raise funds to stop childhood cancer.

Registration for each hiker is $42, representing the 42 children diagnosed with cancer every day. Each hiker will be required to raise a minimum of $200 for CureSearch for Children’s Cancer. An ultimate Hike swag bag and prize will be given to Hikers who raise $500 by the day of the hike.

Up to 50 hikers can join this local hike. Join the Campione Team or donate today by clicking HERE. Funds raised help discover safer, more effective childhood cancer treatments.

The mission of CureSearch is to end childhood cancer by driving targeted and innovative research with measurable results in an accelerated time frame. To find out more about the organization visit

Friends Making a Difference

Allen started hiking with Campione as part of CureSearch’s Ultimate Hike Program, which is a weekend event, including a 20-mile hike with difficult terrain.

“I don’t want to imagine how boring my life would be without my friend Joseph,” explaied Allen, “If I can give other kids their friend Joseph, I’m going to do that.”

Campione believes wholeheartedly in CureSearch and its undertaking. And because of that, he is dedicated to making this hike a success. He knows the commitment and distance may seem daunting but says he can almost guarantee everyone will be able to complete it.

“We purposefully made this hike far, and we purposefully made it hard to do,” said Campione. “It is all mental, and it’s about overcoming those mental obstacles throughout the day.”

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Kelli Goel

Kelli Goel is a food blogger with The Zebra Press and lives with her husband and children in Alexandria, Virginia.

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