Cincinnati Children's Blog

Pray–Hope–Believe: The Merk Family

Pray–Hope–Believe: The Merk Family

When 3-year-old Tony was diagnosed with brain cancer, his family was devastated. They wanted to make sure Tony received the best care possible, and they knew he was in good hands at Cincinnati Children’s.

Pediatric brain cancer is among the deadliest forms of cancer, and despite his battle, Tony passed away when he was only 6 years old. But his family is not done fighting.

“We want to honor Tony and stop other families from going through what we had to,” says Tony’s mom, Lynne. “We started the Pray~Hope~Believe Foundation to raise money for pediatric brain cancer research and support families who have a child diagnosed with a brain tumor or brain cancer.”

The foundation is holding its annual Pray~Hope~Believe 5K Run/Walk – a Giving Hope fundraiser –on July 4, the day Tony passed away. The event celebrates children who have lost their lives to this devastating disease and helps fight it by providing financial support for pediatric brain cancer research being conducted at Cincinnati Children’s.

Since its inception, the foundation has donated more than $80,000 to pediatric brain tumor research. It has also partnered with the psychosocial support team at Cincinnati Children’s to provide a Family Camp Day for families seen in neuro-oncology and are planning additional support programs for 2014. All of these are funded largely through the annual run — the foundation’s largest fundraising event.

The 5K event also includes a flag ceremony, Superhero Sprint kids fun run, games, basket raffle, music, food and more.

“The key to running a successful fundraising event is sharing your story so others understand the reason behind the event,” Lynne says. “It is also important to be accountable to your supporters by informing them about how the funds raised are being used.  Partnering with recognizable and trusted organizations like Cincinnati Children’s gives your event added credibility.”

You can support the Pray~Hope~Believe Foundation and Cincinnati Children’s by attending the 5K on Friday, July 4, at the Colerain Township Municipal Complex. Registration and more information for the event are available at

If you are interested in holding a fundraising event, you can be a part of our Giving Hope Program. Contact me at or 513-636-1084 for more information.

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