May 31, 2012
By Ashley Nash
The annual Brittiana’s ‘Smile for Life’ 5K Run/Walk will be taking place on Saturday, June 2 at Kenneth Hahn Park from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. This will be the seventh year of the BCI (Brittiana Cares International) walk and the fifth year since her passing. According to a video posted on the Brittiana 5K Smile for Life website, Brittiana Reneé Henderson was born on September 1, 1993. The ‘Smile for Life’ portion included in the name of her organization was inspired by her loving nature and reputation for being ‘all smiles’. With her amazing talents, ranging from acting and dancing to poetry and excelling in school, Brittiana was destined for a bright future. However, her diagnosis of Osteogenic Sarcoma (bone cancer) would combat that destiny. It was through chemotherapy, a knee replacement, and painful procedures that Brittiana persevered and encouraged other children battling cancer.
She was then inspired and with the help of parents developed the organization that hosts the annual run/walk every year, Brittiana Cares International. Dedicated “to embracing children diagnosed with cancer through the power of love,” as stated in the description, Brittiana brought smiles to the faces of many affected children. In congruence with the hope she provided, she and her family would be notified that her cancer went into remission following the completion of her chemotherapy treatments. Yet, it wouldn’t be long before the cancer returned, but this time it was Leukemia that initiated a faith-breaking attempt. While it was declared that her chances of survival were slim to none, Brittiana yearned for quality of life and decided upon no chemo treatments for this duration. Nonetheless, with the support of family and the hospital, Brittiana engaged in holistic regiments.
At this time, Brittiana assisted in planning the first annual “Brittiana ‘Smile for Life’ 5K run/walk” through her organization; in efforts to raise funds for those children facing cancer treatment as well. With cancer serving as the number one disease killing 46 of America's children a day, according to the BCI webpage, Brittiana Cares International combats these realities by fulfilling their mission of increasing awareness and creating smiles for all children fighting against cancer. Brittiana passed on January 31, 2007. Her organization continues to bring joy to children enduring similar circumstances. Featured on her webpage was the inspirational quote, “Every life has a purpose and Every Child deserves the opportunity to smile.” For more information on how to assist and/or donate visit http://bcirunwalk.com.