MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - In less than two weeks, thousands of runners will hit the streets for the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend. The money raised goes to support children and families who turn to the hospital for help fighting catastrophic childhood diseases.
"I wouldn't be here without St. Jude. They saved my life," said Ashley McTyre.
McTyre was just 10 years old when her life turned upside down in 2002.
"It's terrifying to sit in a room with your family and to be told that you have cancer," said McTyre.
The diagnosis was Osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer.
McTyre underwent chemotherapy, surgery and rehab. All done with the help of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. McTyre says the doctors and nursing staff at St. Jude made all the difference for her.
"I was here for holidays, sometimes and I was here for birthdays. They made little every day moments, big moments and it was in those moments that I knew that I wanted to be able to make that kind of difference in a patient's life one day," said McTyre.
McTyre is making a difference. She still walks the halls of St. Jude today. Now as a nurse. She joined the St. Jude team five and a half years ago.
"Having made the intentional decision to give back to this mission, it speaks volumes about her character," said ALSAC President and CEO Richard Shadyac Jr.
This upcoming St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend, McTyre along with St. Jude staff want to remind people why raising money for this cause is so important.
"Because of events like this no family will ever receive a bill from St. Jude. Not for the cost of treatment, travel, housing or food," said Shadyac.
Organizers say more than 25,000 participants are expected. They're hoping to raise $12 million.
"The fact that I'm able to walk these halls and take care of patients is because of the care that I received and I'm forever grateful for this hospital and all that they're able to do," said McTyre.
The 2019 St. Jude Memphis Marathon is set for Saturday, Dec. 7. There are still spaces available for the full marathon and the kids marathon.