Alyvia Blanchard of Mexico greets friends at a fundraiser for her Saturday in Rumford. A 5K race and unicorn obstacle course raised $9,200 for the 5-year-old, who is about to undergo chemotherapy. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

RUMFORD — Five-year-old Alyvia Blanchard of Mexico has hundreds of supporters as she prepares to begin chemotherapy to fight her recently diagnosed cancer.

“Growing up in a small town can sometimes be difficult, but there are moments, like moments that were shared on the track Saturday, that you’re overcome with appreciation for a community that always rises to the challenge of supporting one of their own,” said Kaitlyn Virgin, who coordinated Alyvia’s Sparkle 5K & Unicorn Obstacle Course on Saturday with Brooke Holmquist. It raised $9,200.

Maine State Police Trooper Jason Wing presents a Maine State Police Challenge Coin to Alyvia Blanchard of Mexico during a benefit 5K and obstacle course Saturday in Rumford. Alyvia is about to undergo chemotherapy. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

The benefit at Hosmer Field had all of Alyvia’s favorite things: unicorns, rainbows, cake pops, bows, bracelets and sparkles.

Combined with a fundraiser last month at Aubuchon Hardware in Rumford, a total of $20,000 has been raised to assist her parents, Dawn Blackman and Cody Blanchard, with upcoming medical and travel expenses.

Alyvia, who loves cheering and dancing, has a form of cancer that attacks white blood cells, which are involved in protecting the body against both infectious disease and foreign invaders.

Among her supporters were sponsors from more than 30 area small businesses.

Kevin Jamison, manager of Aubuchon Hardware on Falmouth Street, said several local businesses assisted with the fundraising, with the Aubuchon corporate office matching $5,000 for a total of nearly $11,000.

The Area Youth Football cheerleaders put together a team of 15 participants. The University of Maine at Farmington had an 11-member softball team and Meroby Elementary School had 20 participants for the 5K. In all, there were 241 competitors for the run.

“When we first started to plan the 5K for Alyvia and her family, we had hoped to get at least 50 people to sign up and to raise a couple thousand dollars,” Virgin said.

The top three finishers were Nick Young at 22:57.6, Steve Day at 23:05.9 and Josh Thurston at 23:16.9.

Top three women finishers were Alyssa Morin at 26:27.7, Bri McGrath at 27:15.0 and Jennifer Merrill at 28:31.8.

Event timing was coordinated by the Chisholm Ski Club, which posted results on its website.

Maine State Police Troopers Jason Wing, Connor Willard and Jeremy Pyburn of Troop B also attended.

Following the Sparkle 5K, Wing presented Alyvia with a Maine State Police Challenge Coin.
He said it’s the first one presented to a non-trooper. The coins are traditionally awarded to individual officers of a department whose personal accomplishments have garnered recognition.

“We thank everyone involved from the bottom of our hearts for making the event such a success,” Virgin said.

The community support for Alyvia will continue Saturday with the Lyv Strong Fundraising Committee organizing a spaghetti dinner and silent auction from 5-8 p.m. at the Eagles Club, 129 Rumford Ave., followed by a dance from 8 p.m. to midnight. To donate items, purchase tickets or for more information, contact Chris Arsenault at 207-418-2243.

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