Katie Karp, from Winter Garden, Fla., was an active 12-year-old (lacrosse and running) when she was diagnosed with bone cancer (osteosarcoma). Karp underwent a rare surgery to have 12 inches of her thigh bone removed and replaced with an internal prosthetic. She was one of a few children in the world to have had this radical limb salvage procedure and she was the first to receive the extendable JTS implant, a bone replacement implant that can be extended without surgical intervention. The internal, expandable prosthetic allowed doctors to adjust the length of her leg as she grew, saving Katie from multiple invasive surgeries.
This week Karp, 19, is celebrating six years of being cancer-free by participating in the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals as an ambassador for the charity. This is Karp’s first half marathon and she is running with her trainer and two oncologists who were critical to her survival.
Karp will join more than 52,000 other runners who are trading their ball gowns for running gear to participate in the 9th annual runDisney race weekend at Walt Disney World Resort. This royally themed event is currently the largest women-focused running event in the nation.
America’s princess, Miss America 2017 Savvy Shields, will be onsite to cheer on runners during the 10K and half marathon as the National Goodwill Ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
Dena Demler, from Salt Lake City, Utah, suffered a tibial plateau fracture (a bone break at the knee) in May 2014 when she hit an ice patch during a bike race and fell 20 feet into a ravine. Following multiple surgeries to repair the knee, Demler learned she had breast cancer during a checkup in March 2015. She underwent a mastectomy and two additional reconstructive surgeries that year, and spent most of the following year recovering from her treatments. To celebrate her recovery, Demler is running the Glass Slipper Challenge (the 10K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday). These will be her first races since her ordeal.
Brittney Clark, from Pensacola, Fla, is running the 10K with her younger sister, Téa, who is a quadriplegic due to cerebral palsy. Fulfilling her sister’s dream of completing a runDisney race, Brittney committed to participate in her first-ever 10K and push her wheelchair-bound sister across the finish line to earn her coveted “Beauty and the Beast” themed race medal. In October 2016, Téa suddenly became very ill and was airlifted to a hospital in Nashville after complications with her baclofen pump, which is used to treat stiff muscles and spasms. Since then, she has been airlifted back to Nashville for more surgeries due to various life-threatening health complications. Through it all, Téa has remained determined to make it to the race weekend. Her top goal listed on her hospital room patient board reads, “Make it to Disney.”
The runDisney Health & Fitness Expo begins Thursday, and the Disney Princess 5K starts Friday at 6 a.m. All races start and finish at Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort. The runDisney Health & Fitness Expo is located at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
For a full schedule of the weekend’s events, see below:
|runDisney Health & Fitness Expo||Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend|
|Thursday, 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.||Princess 5K • EpcotFriday, 6 a.m. start|
|Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.||Princess 10K • EpcotSaturday, 5:30 a.m. start|
|Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.||Disney Princess Half Marathon • EpcotSunday, 5:30 a.m. start|