Pennsylvania boy running every day to help girl with cancer

MIDDLETOWN TWP., Pa. -- A boy from Bucks County, Pennsylvania is spending the final sweltering weeks of his summer vacation helping a little girl with cancer - one step at a time.

11-year-old Ryan Tarapchak made a pledge to run every day.

On most days, Ryan runs in Middletown Township with his mom, Janine. But his thoughts are often consumed by one thing.

"It's really hard to deal with cancer. And if my sister had it, I know someone else would do it for her," he said.

He's talking about 6-year-old Isabella O'Brien, the sister of one of his friends. In March she was diagnosed with stage four alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.

It's a very rare form of cancer that affects the body's connective tissues. Ryan said he wanted to help Isabella by doing something he knows he does well.

"I was really good at running. I just wanted to run for Isabella and raise more money," Ryan said.

For 30 straight days, Ryan will run and up and down his neighborhood streets. His longest run so far is 6.2 miles and he hopes to run even farther. But he says his most important goal is to raise $10,000 for Isabella's family.

After months of chemotherapy and proton therapy at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Isabella's father, Scott, said her tumor is shrinking. But he says unexpected expenses like travel costs and wigs for his daughter - who has lost all of her hair - quickly add up.

"It's wonderful knowing that we have that cushion, knowing that if something should happen we're not going to get put out on the streets. So it's great. And having a kid help raise the money like this is awesome," Scott said.

In 10 days, Ryan has raised more than $1,900.

"People are so wonderful. And it shows Ryan that you can make a difference," said Ryan's mom, Janine.

Ryan will continue his daily runs through September 8th. You can donate online at
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