Shamokin, PA 5K and Fundraiser – Rhonda Strong

Sundance Vacations Shamokin, Pennsylvania office employee Stesha Barcavage participated in a 5K race and fundraiser to help her daughter’s preschool teacher in need.

Her daughter’s instructor, Rhonda Eckman, was recently diagnosed with stage-four Colon-Rectal Cancer. In addition to discovering a mass on Eckman’s colon and a spot on her liver, doctors have confirmed the cancer is spreading to her lymph nodes.

As a result of late-stage cancer discovery, Eckman had to close her daycare to receive cancer treatments. Eckman has since proceeded with four rounds of chemotherapy treatments and doctors are hoping that more treatments will put her cancer into remission.

Sundance Vacations’ Barcavage tells us she knew she had to help however she could because Eckman was always such a caring and dedicated teacher to her four-year-old daughter, Halle.

“She is an amazing woman who is ready to fight this battle,” Barcavage said.  “The entire community is behind her.”

In fact, the Rhonda Strong 5K race had 183 pre-registered participants as well as dozens more who signed up the day of the run.

Eckman's students ran a lemonade stand on race day to raise funds for their favorite teacher's cancer recovery.

Eckman’s students ran a lemonade stand on race day to raise funds for their favorite teacher’s cancer recovery.

The event took place on Saturday, June 25 at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Church in Shamokin, Pa. Festivities kicked off at 9 a.m. with the 5K at Our Lady of Lourdes church, which stretched down to the Shamokin High School and back. Children and families from Eckman’s daycare as well as people in the community participated to help their teacher and friend.

Children also ran lemonade and Italian ice stands, got their faces painted and participated in a basket raffle to raise funds for Eckman’s chemotherapy treatments.

Eckman even came and jogged with her students on a quarter-mile Kids Fun Run and awarded them medals for their achievements.

The Sundance Vacations Shamokin office donated $100 for organizing events for the special day along with many other local organizations such as Brewer’s Sports Grille, Owen’s Dentistry and MA Landscape.

The Rhonda Strong 5K event proved to be a success after tallying the funds and discovering participants raised over $15,000!

According to Barcavage, after seeing her recent cancer screenings, Eckman’s oncologist believes Eckman should be able to, “seize the cancer,” and be on the road to remission with the treatments this money will cover.

Barcavage tells Sundance Vacations that Eckman truly is a hero to her daughter and a hero in its truest definition.

“Christopher Reeve once said, ‘A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles,’” Barcavage said.  “That’s Rhonda.”

For more information on how you can help support Rhonda Eckman, please visit her Go Fund Me page:

View all charities Sundance Vacations Shamokin worked with here: Shamokin News.

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Jennifer writes for Sundance Vacations’ Charities, Blog and News site. As our Digital Marketing Coordinator, she is the mastermind behind our YouTube videos and generates online content for our travel company.