Indianapolis family trying to raise awareness during Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month

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By Nicole Pence

INDIANAPOLIS - September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness month.

One Indianapolis family is doing their part to educate and raise money to battle the disease after their daughter lost the battle.

Caroline Symmes was just three years old when she was diagnosed with Wilms Tumor disease. Wilms Tumor disease is the most curable type of kidney cancer in adults and children.

"I lived here (at Riley Hospital for Children) with Caroline for a year and a half, and it`s like coming home in a surreal way, "said Caroline's mother, Libby.

Caroline Symmes tumor was too aggressive. Doctors at Riley Hospital for Children said Symmes would not make it because there wasn't enough research on solid tumors.

"She is a great little girl that got robbed of her life because of a horrible, horrible disease and because we had no funding," said Libby Symmes.

Symmes family hopes that further research ensures that no other family will have to be in their position. They helped create the Caroline Symmes Endowment for Pediatric Cancer Research at Riley Hospital four years ago.

"There is not a lot of money in developing drugs for kids with cancer.We have to use our own grass roots efforts," explained Dr. Jamie Renbarger, a Pediatric Oncologist at Riley,

The endowment has raised more than $500,000 so far. The goal is to raise eight-million to create a cancer research center named after Caroline Symmes.

"It is important for us to come together to all support efforts like this. Our goal is curing kids and eliminating pediatric cancer," said Dr. Renbarger.

September is designated as Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, and in honor of this month and their daughter Caroline, the Symmes family is hosting several events in the Indianapolis area to raise funding and awareness about the need for pediatric cancer research.

"We created it to make sure that other families have better resources than we did and other kids had better chance of survival with our research funding," said Libby Symmes.

September fundraising events include:

Lucas Estate Viewing Party for Colts/Broncos Sunday Night Football Game

Sunday, Sept. 7 at 6:30 p.m.
Former NFL players will attend this event, which includes a cocktail party and silent auction. Jeff Saturday, a retired center for the Indianapolis Colts, will speak via a live feed.

Caroline Classic Golf Outing
Monday, Sept. 8 at Broadmoor Country Club
Proceeds from this annual tournament go to The Caroline Symmes Endowment for Pediatric Cancer Research to benefit Riley Hospital for Children.

Pink Label Event
Thursday, Sept. 25 at 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 26 at 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 27 at 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Caroline Symmes was a five-year-old fashionista who loved clothes and anything pink. The Pink Label Event is a consignment sale featuring women’s, children’s and men’s clothes and accessories.

People can also support the Caroline Symmes Endowment for Pediatric Cancer Research and find more information about events at

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