The third annual Collins Dixon Bend Your Knees 5-kilometer race and 1-mile Fun Run event is set to take place Saturday with the goal of raising money to help families dealing with childhood brain cancer.
In 2012, Collins Dixon died after battling brain cancer for 10 months, and his parents started the event as a way to remember him and help others going through similar experiences, Bob Dixon said.
“Robin and I were floored when we found out Collins had a brain tumor because we never realized how many kids get a brain tumor, or cancer in general,” he said. “People don’t realize; your kid will be playing basketball one day, and then, he just wakes up with virus-like symptoms, and within a month, he’s having brain surgery.”
Bob Dixon said, “your whole life is just changed forever.”
“Collins showed us how to finish strong. As his body grew weaker, his faith got stronger,” bob Dixon said of his son. “He showed us how to finish strong through his faith in Jesus Christ.”
Last year, the 5K event raised $18,000 with 900 participants. This year, with 100 volunteers and several sponsors, organizers hope for similar success.
“Here it is, three years later, and it’s growing and getting bigger,” Bob Dixon said. “It amazes us.”
Robin Dixon said her son inspires her to continue working to raise awareness about the disease. Just months before he died, Collins ran a 5K while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, she said.
“It was Nov. 5, and he died Jan. 14,” she said.
“He ran it by himself. We didn’t even keep up.”
Bob Dixon said in the last year, the Bend Your Knees nonprofit foundation has helped 14 children battling similar brain cancers.
“We raise awareness of pediatric brain cancer, and we use the money to give to families that are like our family, going through this like we did with Collins,” he said. “Bills come up, medical and just everyday bills. We’ve given to the families of six children, locally.”
Bob Dixon said he and his family found support in the community when his son became sick.
“We realized, the first year, what a wonderful community we live in,” he said. “People came forward and helped us as we were going through things with Collins.”
Along with the race, the event will feature children’s activities, bounce houses and music, Bob Dixon said, and two drivers who race at Dixie Motor Speedway will help kick off the event.
“They put our logo on the hood of two of their cars, with Collins’ initials,” he said. “We’re going to have both of those cars at the 5K, and they’re actually going to start the 5K.”
The event will be at First Baptist Church of Canton, at 1 Mission Point in Canton. The day will begin with race-day registration at 7 a.m., and pre-race activities will begin at 7:30 a.m. Dixon said those hoping to sign up the day of the event should arrive early.
The 5K is set to start at 8 a.m., with the Fun Run at 8:45 a.m.
Registration for the 5K is $35, while the 1-mile Fun Run costs $25. Participants can pre-register online to be guaranteed a T-shirt, and registration is available online by visiting the race website at www.bendyourknees.org/.