MORTON — Angie Young is one of the more than 150 volunteers who do their best to make sure the annual Kids Muddy Madness for St. Jude event runs smoothly.

The Morton mother of two has been attending meetings, helping with set up and tear down, preparing packets and working at the registration table since the event's inception in 2012.

On June 3, 1981, she was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia and given a 50/50 chance of living.

"St. Jude saved my life," she said.

That would be St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., the recipient of more than $75,000 raised at last year's Kids Muddy Madness, which featured more than 1,500 kids running through obstacle courses and sloshing through what's billed as the largest race mud pit in Illinois.

Young, 46, has many vivid memories of her St. Jude experience even though it was decades ago.

"I remember doctors coming into my hospital room and telling me I had cancer," she said. "I remember bone marrow tests, spinal taps, chemotherapy, weeks of hospital stays, hundreds of pokes and IV's, ICU, ice baths, surgery, losing my hair, vomiting, feeding tubes and much more."

There also are pleasant memories.

"I remember the friends I met who were fighting the same battle," she said. "Most importantly, I remember how amazing St. Jude was and is. I remember love, support, hugs and laughter. I remember nurses and doctors who always gave everything for each patient. I remember the feeling that would overcome me when I went to my home away from home."

With all that in her rear-view mirror, contributing to Kids Muddy Madness has become a passion for Young.

"It's an honor to be involved," she said. "I'll never be able to repay St. Jude for what it did for me, but being involved in Kids Muddy Madness and raising money for St. Jude is a step."

Young also has raised money for St. Jude by running in the Memphis to Peoria and Morton to Peoria runs and helping out with the Morton to Peoria run.

She got involved in Kids Muddy Madness through a friendship with founders Matt and Michelle Parker of Morton, who also launched the Morton to Peoria Run.

Young and her husband Steve have two sons. Danny Bailey, 15, will be a sophomore at Morton High School this year and Joey Bailey, 13, will be a seventh-grader at Morton Junior High School. Each attended Bethel Lutheran School in Morton from preschool through sixth grade.

This year's fifth annual Kids Muddy Madness will be Saturday at Westwood Park in Morton, its home since 2012. For the first time, St. Jude patients and siblings will lead the initial wave in the 250-yard and mile courses.

Money is raised mostly through donations received by participants. Among the other fundraisers this year are food sales, a merchandise tent, balloon creations, bounce houses and lanyards that have the name and age of a St. Jude patient.

After completing the course, kids can run through a foam booth obstacle and get cleaned up at a kid wash.

The Kids Muddy Madness Mobile that provides shuttle service from the parking lot will be available. Handprints of St. Jude patients are painted on the sides of the vehicle.

Steve Stein can be reached at 686-3114 or stevestein21@yahoo.com. Read his Stein Time blog on pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.

 

If you go

What: Fifth annual Kids Muddy Madness for St. Jude.

When: 9 a.m. Saturday.

Where: Westwood Park, Veterans Road, Morton.

Information: www.kidsmuddymadness.com.