Above: Max Cure presents $285,000 to Memorial Sloan-Kettering

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.”

When the going gets tough, the tough adopt the Spartan Spirit, which comes with an unconquerable soul. This Spartan Spirit lies within all of us. Many choose not to embrace this inner strength until it is called upon. Most of us don’t even know it exists until an unexpected circumstance challenges us, and we have no choice but to search deep into the roots of our being and find it.

Millions upon millions of athletes and soldiers throughout history have proven that we as humans have the capability to reach beyond our own limits  when in the heat of fierce competition or battle. But even these brave men and women are given a choice, to be brave and go forth, or to turn around and walk away. Having that choice is a luxury that we take for granted. However, some of us are not as fortunate. Sometimes, there is no turning back, and therefore to be brave or not to be brave is not a choice.

Today, cancer has become the leading cause of death. It is an epidemic. When cancer  knocks on the door, the mystery of not knowing what tomorrow may bring creates a sense of fear. When it touches a child, that fear is coupled with an emptiness that  cannot be conveyed in words. This happens 12,500 times a year to our children. They and their families have only one choice: to “BE BRAVE.”

When a child is diagnosed with cancer, the whole family is diagnosed as well. There is no time to prepare. This terrible disease barges into one’s life, unannounced, and then comes with serious demands that warrant immediate action. Emotional fortitude as well as mental and physical endurance are a must in order to survive.

Children and families facing the heartbreaking diagnosis of any pediatric cancer are heroes who deserve our support. As Spartans, we have a responsibility to ourselves and to others. We must challenge ourselves and face our own fears, but we cannot forget to encourage and aid others in their struggles.

For this reason, the Spartan Race Team has chosen to partner with The Max Cure Foundation for pediatric cancer research. The foundation was inspired by Max Plotkin, who at the age of three was diagnosed with a rare cancer, never before seen by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Immediately following his diagnosis, his family took a stand, and within the first year raised $250,000.00 for research. Their mission is tounderwrite a one of a kind cell therapy lab at MSKCC to research less toxic treatments for pediatric cancer  and find cures, while providing comfort to families living with the disease. Today, Max is seven and is in remission.

Within three years Max Cure has raised over one million dollars for the cause, and has helped children, their families and their communities. The Max Cure Foundation’s message to its supporters and to all those fighting pediatric cancer is “Be Brave.” If there is any group or team that can relate to that message, we can. The Spartan Race Team knows what it means to Be Brave. In fact, bravery is one of the core values of the Spartan Spirit. It’s a quality that we Spartans seek to promote both within ourselves and in others.

Our new partnership with Max Cure gives us the chance to raise awareness and funds from around the globe for pediatric cancer, and to support the charity that’s racing to cure it. Wherever Spartans go, they will carry the roar of Max Cure. They will spread the message “Be Brave” throughout their communities and will roar for a cure until one is found.

In honor of The Max Cure Foundation for pediatric cancer causes and all of the children and their families fighting cancer, Spartan Race is proud to announce a new family-style race, debuting at the Spartan Beast weekend-long festival in Vermont in summer 2011.

Winston Churchill once said, “Kites rise highest when they are against the wind, not with it.”  Together, we fight, we rise and we defeat pediatric cancer. Stay tuned!

Click here to learn more about Max Cure and their mission.

Have a peaceful and joyous holiday season!