The San Diego Union-Tribune
BY ELENA CRISTIANO - FOR THE NORTH COUNTY TIMES
The Mitchell Thorp Foundation will hold its first walkathon Jan 23 at Poinsettia Park to raise money for two Carlsbad families, the Quartarones and the Reisers, whose sons were both diagnosed with cancer.
The foundation was formed last year to help North County children and families facing life-threatening illnesses. It was created in memory of Mitchell Thorp, a young Carlsbad baseball player and straight-A student who died at age 18 in November 2008after a five-year battle with an undiagnosed illness.
A similar tragedy struck the Quartarone family last month, when 16-year-old Chase Quartarone died of lymphoma.
The foundation, run by Mitchell’s parents, Brad and Beth Thorp, delivered a check to the Quartarones earlier this week to help with the family’s extensive medical bills.
The gift, made possible by the support the foundation has received, was “yet another example of the incredible, loving spirit of the community,” Beth Thorp said.
Sam Reiser,16, finished his 12th cycle of chemotherapy Monday. The Carlsbad teen has been through months of radiation treatments and numerous blood and bone-marrow transfusions to treat the stage four Hodgkin’s lymphoma he was diagnosed with last spring.
The upcoming fundraiser will help the Reiser family with its mounting medical bills.
“I am overwhelmed,” Sam said Tuesday, about the outpouring of support he has experienced from people, including many he has never met. “Overwhelmed, privileged and humbled.”
Sam said throughout his battle with lymphoma he has tried to protect the feelings of his family and friends.
“God’s plan is a win-win situation ---- whether I stay here and inspire more people or he calls me home and I leave behind a good mark here,” said Sam. “It’s hard to say that at 16, because you want to grow up and live a normal life and be a normal kid, but that’s not an option for me.”
Sam’s father, Jim Reiser, said he is grateful for any financial help. But, he said, the most important function of the Mitchell Thorp Foundation is the emotional support that comes from the bond felt between families, like the Thorps and the Reisers, who have faced life-threatening illnesses.
Beth Thorp said the foundation’s aim is to take the burden off the families and allow them “to spend time concentrating on their child getting better.”
This month’s walkathon recalls one held May 6, 2006, at Poinsettia Field, to help the Thorp family.
Based on the overwhelming success of the 2008 walkathon, Beth Thorp said, it was a no-brainer to organize another.
The walkathon at Poinsettia Park’s Thorp Field, named in memory of Mitchell, will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 23, with sign-ins beginning at 9 a.m. Walk-ups are welcome, although online registration is encouraged.
Sponsors include Henry’s and Jimbo’s markets. Several other local businesses will be on hand selling food and beverages, with a portion of the proceeds going to the foundation.
For more information or to sponsor a participant, visit www.mitchellthorp.com.