Mighty Meehan 5K Continues to Give Hope to Families Fighting Childhood Leukemia

Turlough Eoghain Meehan was born on June 23, 2007, at Cape Cod Hospital, in Hyannis. The first child of Amanda-Clare and Phelim Meehan, he weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces at birth – a perfectly healthy baby boy.

Only two-and-a-half months later, this perfect baby was diagnosed with myeloid/lymphoid leukemia (MLL), a form of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). By the following October, after months of chemotherapy failed to halt the disease, Turlough’s final hope came down to a bone-marrow transplant provided by a suitable donor.

Friends, family, and colleagues from Phelim’s job at the Dennis Fire Department Headquarters, in partnership with the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, pulled together and organized the first bone marrow drive for Turlough right at the fire station. Sadly, after a courageous fight, Turlough passed away on Dec.18, 2007, at six months old.

In 2008, the first MM5K (MM stands for “Mighty Meehan”) took place, as a result of the family wanting to pay forward all the generosity and support they, themselves received in the fight for their son’s life. They wanted to help the families who are still continuing the fight against childhood and infant leukemia.

“We knew we had support beyond what was normal and we wanted to somehow pass that on, because during our time in the hospital we saw families who struggled between jobs and children at home to try and balance everything,” Amanda said. “Some children didn’t have anyone with them until the evening when a parent got off work, or they lived far away and could not be there 24/7 like I was.”

The 11th annual MM5K road race will take place on Sunday, Sept. 9, at 10 a.m. Race prizes sponsored by Marathon Sports, in Yarmouth, and all age groups are welcome and encouraged to participate. Visit mightymeehan.com for more information. “We would like people to come run/walk and make a donation so we can pass that donation onto Dana Farber.”

The post-race awards ceremony will be held at Chapin’s Fish ‘n Chips, Lower County Road, in Dennisport, where there will be live entertainment and auction items. “The guys at Chapin’s are amazing to us,” Amanda said. “They don’t charge us a penny to host the post-race party, which is amazing and a lot of fun, and they donate all the food. Dennis Public Market donates all the burgers /chicken for the grill. East Dennis Oyster Farm donates oysters and Krista K’s Ice Cream gives out free ice cream.

“It’s like a huge party, which I see as a way we all come together and celebrate life in a positive way – from newborns to grandparents,” she said. “We have people who never started running until our race and have now run several marathons, but come back every year to run this little 5K race. We have a raffle and silent auction and every item was donated by local businesses. It’s amazing and such a positive impact on us and the community. We live in community that really supports each other and continues to do so.”

The Meehan family has been overwhelmed by the generosity that has been shown during their son’s short life, and ever since. “The whole thing is extremely humbling and emotional. When the fire department held the bone marrow drive, at the time it was the biggest response in the region. Knowing and seeing all the support that we got from the community is overwhelming. Everyone who helps organize the race is a volunteer and it’s tough to work full-time and still donate your time to a fundraising event.”

People who had never even met Turlough want show their support. But what they are really doing, according to Amanda, is giving future children and their families hope – hope that new medicines will be developed, hope that new and better understandings of how and why infant (childhood) leukemia works, and hope that their child will survive.

“I cannot say I see this as a reason for Turlough’s passing, but I see it as this – even though he was so young and so little, he had a huge impact that will helpfully help give others a second chance of a life (through bone marrow drives) or at least give them extra time with their loved ones.”

Race prizes for the 5K are sponsored by Marathon Sports, in Yarmouth, and all age groups are welcome and encouraged to participate. Visit mightymeehan.com for more information.

Donations made on the website, mightymeehan.com, go directly to the Turlough Meehan Research Foundation at Dana-Farber. Please visit this website often to check for updates on research and to keep track of upcoming fundraising events. Turlough’s family thanks you for your generous support.

Sponsored Content

About Ann Luongo

Ann Luongo is the Marketing Writer and Lifestyle Reporter for CapeCod.com, and has been writing for Cape Cod and South Shore publications for over 15 years.

737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
Contact Us | Advertise Terms of Use 
Employment and EEO | Privacy