Courtesy Nina DiMaggio

When Barbara Earnest was 14, her pediatrician noticed abnormalities in an X-ray and CT scan she underwent during a bout with pneumonia. Her doctor recommended that she go to the hospital for further testing, which revealed that she had Hodgkin lymphoma. Faced with this daunting diagnosis, Earnest’s father chose Loyola’s Ronald McDonald® Children’s Hospital for his daughter’s care.

“My Dad chose Loyola due to its outstanding reputation and the fact that it is an academic institution,” Earnest said. “I continue to visit Loyola for regular scans and tests and am so grateful for all of the love and care that I receive there.”

Thanks to the care she received at the Ronald McDonald® Children’s Hospital, Earnest has been cancer free for more than a decade. She will volunteer at Loyola’s Health, Hope & Heroes 5K Run/Walk to support other children who are suffering from illness. Race proceeds will support the Ronald McDonald® Children’s Hospital.

“These kids deserve the best care and attention,” Earnest said. “It is my privilege to participate in this race and give back to the place that enabled me to have so much success in my life.”

The race will take place at 9 a.m. on Sunday, June 9, on the shared campus of Loyola University Medical Center and Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital located at 2160 S. First Ave. in Maywood, Ill.

The 5K Run/Walk will be followed by a Children’s Hero Hustle at 10:30 a.m. Area sports mascots and characters will be on hand to entertain kids as they race. Children ages 4 years and younger will run a 50-yard dash; children ages 5 and older will run a 100-yard dash. Kid’s activities also will be held at the finish line area from 9 – 11:30 a.m.

Race participants will receive a commemorative t-shirt, and children will get a t-shirt and custom-made ribbon. Entertainment and refreshments will be provided following the race.

For more information about race logistics, registration and fundraising visit