For the fourth straight year, Curing Kids Cancer partnered with the Columbia Fire Department for a special firetruck pull to benefit childhood cancer research and treatments.
The event was held on Saturday, April 8, this year, and it's a popular one that allows groups from all around the opportunity to see if they can pull a 35,000 pound truck. Each team sponsors a child affected by cancer, and as usual there were a few teams made up of South Carolina student-athletes.
There were two equestrian teams and one team made up of beach volleyball and football players.
Freshman equestrian student-athlete Caroline Gute heard about Curing Kids Cancer when she came to campus for her orientation last summer. It didn't take long for her to find out what it was all about, and Saturday's firetruck pull was one of several events she's already done for the organization. The Gamecocks sponsored two young girls, Aubree and Lily, on Saturday.
"I'm super excited," said Gute, a first-team All-American for the Gamecocks. "I think Aubree and Lily are supposed to be here, which makes it even more amazing just because they're so sweet. They love the equestrian team."
Curing Kids Cancer was founded by Clay and Grainne Owen, who lost their young son Killian after a battle with leukemia. Since then, they've helped to raise over nine million dollars for childhood cancer research. The 27 teams that pulled a firetruck on Saturday continue to help the cause.
"We've seen the numbers grow every year and the support for this grow every year," Clay Owen said of the firetruck pull. "It's a tremendous outpouring by the community and the Gamecocks. We're so grateful for everything they've done."
Student-athletes, coaches and the administration at the University of South Carolina partner with Curing Kids Cancer for several events every year, and it's something that the Owen family is incredibly grateful for.
"The University has been a partner of ours for so many years now," Clay Owen said. "They've been completely behind everything we've done in terms of raising money for pediatric cancer. It's one of the ways that the Gamecocks continue to give back to the community."
**Story and photo by Kyle Heck**