Man running across the US for childhood cancer awareness makes a stop in KC metro

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BELTON, Mo. – A Wisconsin man, running cross country to raise awareness about the need for childhood cancer funding, is spending the weekend in metro. 

Peter Halper is a little more than halfway through his run across the United States, which started in July.

His mission: “3,100 miles from Dana Point, California to Delaware,” he said.

He’s hitting the pavement for children like Emery, his great niece who lost her fight with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma in 2017 at the age of 3.

“A big part of what we’re doing is to honor and remember many kids who have fought or are fighting some form of pediatric cancer,” he said.

Halper’s endured a lot over the 1,600 miles he’s already conquered, including his shoes melting in the Mojave Desert, to forest fires in Colorado and the pandemic.

“The hurdles [families] have to go through is just like we do, but it’s 100-fold,” he said. “So there was no reason not to do the run in light of the pandemic.”

Halper runs up to 30 miles a day, six days a week. When the 52-year-old finishes in November, he will have completed the equivalent of more than 110 consecutive marathons.

“My fastest day is 6 1/2 hours; my longest day has been 10,” he said.

Jenna Smith is Emery’s mom. She founded Emery’s Memory Foundation shortly after her daughter died. The metro organization, which Halper is running to support, provides care packages, bill assistance and moral support for other families fighting childhood cancer.

“I think a lot of families when they lose a child, the whole time you’re fighting, you’re fighting for their life and once they pass, you’re fighting for them to not be forgotten,” she said.

Halper said his mission is to keep the memory of Emery and so many others like her alive, one stride at a time. He’s set a goal to raise $200,000 during his run. He said he’s already more than hallway there.

Halper continues his run to Delaware on Tuesday morning. Visit this site if you would like to support his journey.

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