The Coast News Group
Elysa, left, rides alongside parent volunteer and supervisor Becky Battista during a trike-a-thon at Discovery Isle Child Development Center on April 20 in Carlsbad. Courtesy photo

Preschoolers ride to raise money for St. Jude

They rolled through Teddy Bear Drive, Huggins Circle and Honeycomb Walk mounted on tricycles and bicycles.

The young students at Discovery Isle Child Development Center participated in a trike-a-thon on April 20 and the 106 students raised about $4,500 for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

This marks the second year for Discovery Isle’s involvement with the event. Last year, the school raised about $2,000, according to Principal Vanessa Milroy.

“It’s about having them ride, having fun and teaching them about this cause,” Milory said of the students. “We’re so lucky here to have so many healthy kids. We wanted to do everything we could to help all the children fighting the battles out there.”

Milroy said curriculum is based around the event. With an age range of 6 weeks to kindergarten, each age group learns at different rates so the education materials are based on their learning abilities.

For example, Milroy said, they engage in role play with puppets to teach the students about different illnesses. They also discuss hospitalization and the cost associated with some of the most severe diseases and illnesses.

“They had a great day and were super excited about all the activities throughout the day,” she added.

While the event is typically lap-based for the fundraising, the students at Discovery Isle, since they are so young, raise money through flat donations versus on a per lap basis.

St. Jude, meanwhile, is focused on many illnesses, but since its founding in 1962, has increased the survival rate for childhood cancer from 20 percent in 1962 to more than 80 percent today, according to its website. In addition, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which only 4 percent of children would survive in 1962, now has a success rate of 94 percent.

One of its other highlights is no family is ever billed for treatment. The hospital fundraises millions of dollars per year to cover treatment, plus research and operational costs.

The St. Jude Trike-A-Thon is a fun, service-learning program for daycares and preschools that teaches trike and riding toy safety while helping the children of St. Jude, according to Nancy Newton, PR manager for ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has spent more than 36 years helping teach children trike and riding-toy safety with the St. Jude Trike-A-Thon. Since its founding, the program has raised more than $131 million.