Father's Day plea: Cure my young daughter's cancer (video)
June 16, 2013 at 1:16 a.m.
Updated June 17, 2013 at 1:17 a.m.
The young sisters woke up early Father's Day, arriving at Riverside Park before the sunlight started to spread across the dark blue sky.
They ran around the dewy grass in bright purple shirts and bedazzled flip flops, calling "tag," "you're it" and "times."
But after a few minutes of tag, 8-year-old Eve Brogger needed to rest.
Not bothered, Lila, 5, plopped to the ground by her big sister and continued to chat about fingernail polish and any number of secrets sisters share.
Lila understands Eve is sick, said David Brogger, the girls' dad.
Eve, diagnosed with ovarian cancer in March, finished her last of four rounds of chemotherapy June 2.
"I got home from work one day, and the girls were playing dolls, and the dolls had cancer. Eve said, 'Seraphina has to go in for her second treatment,' and the dolls had Band-Aids on for where their chemo ports were because Eve has to have a port. That is how normal this is for them. ... I never knew what cancer was when I was a kid," Brogger finished, watching his baby girls play.
But cancer doesn't stop any of them, especially Eve, from celebrating life.
That is why the Brogger family and more than 100 friends and strangers woke up so early Sunday - to run a "5K for Eve," almost everyone wearing the bright purple shirts that Eve designed herself.
On the front, "Team Eve" stood out in bright white letters. On the back, Eve wrote, "Peace, Love and No More Cancer," with the cancer letters slashed out.
"Every time we go to the Ronald McDonald House, we pass by MD Anderson, and theirs is like that, so I wanted mine to be like that. I like it like that," Eve said, explaining why she put a slash through cancer on the T-shirt. Cancer needs to be crossed out, she said, because cancer is a bad thing.
Although more than 100 people wore the purple shirts Sunday, no one else is on "Team Eve" quite like her parents - David and Ann Brogger.
"We took her to Citizens for a stomach ache, and we left for Texas Children's Hospital in an ambulance. It was the worst day of my life," David Brogger said, as Ann Brogger filled out registration forms and gave information about the running trail.
The 5K, organized by Nacho Trevino, will benefit the Brogger family to offset some of the hospital costs.
Another benefit, organized by Shannon Dooling, will be July 13 at Holy Family Church.
"It is just about making sure this family does not have any more to worry about. They already have so much to worry about; I don't want them to stress about anything else. They just need to get Eve better," Dooling said, cheering on runners as they crossed the 5K finish line.
Ann Brogger watched her daughter proudly as Eve passed out medals to the winners, smiling at each person who ran by.
"There were a lot of things she had to go through. And to see how brave she was every time they drew blood, every time they accessed her port. ... It was hard to see that she had to be tough through it all," Ann Brogger said, recounting fevers, chemo treatments, Eve's hair falling out and Eve having to miss school.
With her last scheduled round of chemotherapy over, the Broggers pray that Eve will check out at her next appointment at Texas Children's Hospital on Wednesday and be declared cancer-free, though she will still have to go in for checkups every six weeks for many years to come.
"We are just praying for Wednesday," David Brogger said.