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Pineapple Classic fundraiser for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is Nov. 12

In October of 2009, Mercer Island resident Mark Peterson received the news that every father dreads; his 21-month-old son Ryan was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia.

Shortly after the diagnosis, while Ryan was undergoing treatment, Mark was invited to join a team and participate in The Winter Pineapple Classic, a Hawaiian-themed 5k fun run to raise money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Washington/Alaska Chapter. Mark jumped at the opportunity to do something to help fight the disease his son was battling. In 2009, Mark and his team raised $14,000 for LLS. Last year Mark's team raised $41,000, more than any other team participating in the event. And this year Mark's goal is even higher; as a team they are aiming to raise more than $45,000 for LLS.

Since his diagnosis in October, 2009, Ryan has faced a tough road to recovery. He initially underwent five rounds of chemotherapy over the course of six months, but relapsed after three months in remission. Ryan then faced another eight rounds of radiation and another two rounds of chemotherapy before receiving a bone marrow transplant on Thanksgiving day 2010. Now almost a year later, Ryan is doing well and is slowly returning to live life as a normal 3-year-old boy. He will still have long term effects from the radiation treatments and the transplant, but if things continue to go well he will be slowly tapered off all medications and he can hopefully begin preschool in January.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Washington/Alaska Chapter has been so inspired by Ryan's story and his family's commitment to fundraising, that they have named Ryan the 2011 Winter Pineapple Classic honorary chair.

This year, 'Team Ryan' will be participating in the Winter Pineapple Classic on Saturday, Nov. 12 at Mountain Meadows Farm in North Bend starting at 9 a.m. The event features an array of "obstacle course surprises"

Winter season might be a month away, but on Saturday, Nov. 12, you might want to bring some sun tan lotion! That’s because the 6thAnnual Winter Pineapple Classic event for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Washington/Alaska Chapter takes place at Mountain Meadows Farm in North Bend starting at 9 a.m. The Hawaiian-themed fundraiser is a 5k fun run event, which features an array of “obstacle course surprises” and at the end of the race, participants will be rewarded with a Hawaiian luau that features free food and drinks.So be sure to pack your flip-flops, towels and beach chairs because rain or shine – this event will go on! All event proceeds go directly to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Washington/Alaska chapter.  The Winter Pineapple Classic has raised more than $1.5 million for LLS’ mission, and has become one of the anticipated events of the season.

Last year more than 2,500 participants, donned grass skirts, costumes and even a bikini or two as a way of welcoming in the winter season. The race is open to anyone 8 years of age or older – just come ready to have fun, get dirty and help support the fight against blood cancers.

Registration and additional information can be found at www.winterpineappleclassic.org.

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