Trucker Dukes touched the hearts of many people throughout Maui, the Hawaiian Islands, and the United States as he battled neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer affecting nerve cells in the fetus called neuroblasts. After bravely fighting one of the most aggressive forms of pediatric cancer, 3-year-old Trucker’s battle ended on March 3, 2017. The annual Trucker Dukes Memorial 5K run commemorates Trucker’s life by bringing people together and raising funds for the Hawai‘i-based nonprofit organization, Us Versus Cancer.
“We have been working really hard to make this a unique event,” said Trucker’s mom, Shauna Dukes. “We want it to be a very special event to honor a very special little boy that touched all of our hearts in such a big way! We want people that are involved to feel the love that we all have for Trucker and each other. Our hope is that everyone that shows up feels blessed to be a part of it.”
Shauna ran with Trucker in a stroller throughout their cancer journey – in places from Central Park in New York City to Holomua Road on Maui, where the 5K will take place. Shauna said that running, staying active, and eating clean was especially important for her and her family while experiencing such a hard time. Her family also hopes that the event encourages a healthier lifestyle in our community.
“Trucker touched people’s hearts and they felt compelled to follow his story as it unfolded,” said local celebrity and event facilitator Malika Dudley, who added that the response from the Maui community and worldwide has been unprecedented. “Supporting the Trucker Dukes 5K means a lot to our Maui community and allows us to keep Trucker’s memory alive as we gather to pay it forward and help other families in the same heartbreaking predicament.”
As stated on its website, Us Versus Cancer’s mission is “to provide hope by raising funds for individuals fighting cancer, as well as supporting cutting-edge research for a cure. We bring together a community of unique individuals who want to help in the fight by sharing their ideas, money, skills, and time.”
UVSC was founded by Hawai‘i attorney and cancer survivor Jamil Newirth, and Hawai‘i restaurateur, Chris Thibaut. At UVSC, there are no salaries given to employees or members. All funds raised by events and private donations go directly to to the needs of individuals fighting cancer and to cutting-edge cancer research.
The organization believes in the power of focus by supporting a handful of patients in need of assistance each year. Notable local community members of UVSC include the Dukes ‘ohana, Ian Walsh, Kurt Suzuki, Damian Boone, Shane Dorian, Chad Goodfellow, and Garrett Marrero. With the support of the Maui community and members that reside off-island, UVSC is able to help persons and families affected by cancer.
The 2019 Trucker Dukes 5K Memorial Run will feature a timed 5K run and a 1-mile walk. Check-in is from 6-7am, the opening ceremony will commence at 7:30am, and the race starts at 8am.
The race course begins at Old Maui High School and heads toward Baldwin Avenue before it returns back to the finish line at Old Maui High. The event is available to a maximum of 300 participants (including keiki and strollers), and the entry fee includes race, t-shirt, goodie bag, and post-race refreshments. For this year’s event, the Dukes family has added a few new personal touches like live music at the finish line and leis that have been made and donated by generous Maui community members for all participants.
To register for the race or to make a donation, visit UVSC.org. If you can’t make the event, no worries – you can also register for a virtual run on their website. All proceeds of the Trucker Dukes Memorial 5K will go directly to UVSC’s patients and research in honor of Trucker Dukes.
Trucker Dukes Memorial 5K
Old Maui High School
1000 Holomua Rd., Pa‘ia
Saturday March 9, 2019
Opening ceremony: 7:30am
Race starts at 8am
Images 1 and 4 courtesy Dukes Ohana
Images 2 and 3 courtesy facebook/teamtrucker