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Boy Raises Money in Memory of Best Friend

1524940_487199361398854_1357718017_nA rare form of cancer stole the life of 10-year-old Landon Ahrendt of Kingwood last May, but his spirit lives on through the best friend he left behind and the foundation created in his name.

The boy’s father, Scott Ahrendt, said the family first learned there was a problem in 2012 after he noticed a small bump on Landon’s foot when he took off his cleat at soccer practice. Scott asked Landon if he had been injured from a stray kick at some point, and Landon said he hadn’t, and that the bump did not hurt. But the bump didn’t go away.

“It got a little bit bigger and we took him to his doctor, who said it looked like a cyst,” Ahrendt said. “He sent us to another doctor, who performed a biopsy. By then it had gotten bigger and we knew we were dealing with something that wasn’t good.”

When the biopsy results returned, the family learned the second-grader had Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare tissue cancer. The diagnosis is so rare, Ahrendt said, of 30,000 children diagnosed with cancer in the United States every year, only around 60 have Rhabdomyosarcoma.

Landon Ahrendt’s battle ended May 21, but his best friend, Barrett Kenny, has vowed to continue the fight against illnesses like childhood cancer. On Saturday, Barrett was at his latest fundraising endeavor Saturday, participating in the Kingwood High School National Honor Society’s Color Run.

“Not very long ago (Landon) passed away at the age of 10, so my parents and I came up with an idea,” Barrett said. “In honor of him being 10 years old, I’m going to do 10 races a year, and that’s why I’m at this race right now.”

Barrett was enthusiastic about the “color run” as he stood looking like a human watercolor painting, covered in various colors from head to toe.

“It was amazing,” he said. “Today we were at a color run and it’s a normal 5K – what’s special is that there are people with bags of paint dust and while you’re running, they’ll throw dust at you so at the end you look like this.”

Scott Ahrendt said Barrett and Landon were “the best of friends,” and the family called them “brothers from another mother.”

“The way (Barrett) honors Landon is incredible,” Ahrendt said. “It touches me every day. He’s a part of our family and we just love him to death.”

The two boys were inseparable from kindergarten on, he said.

Scott and Jaymi Ahrendt created the L3 Foundation as a result of their experiences with Landon’s illness. L3 stands for “Live, Love, Landon.” Scott Ahrendt said his family was very fortunate to have received so much support during their struggle.

“The Kingwood community and the Houston community really surrounded us with love and took great care of us, and helped Landon,” he said. “We realized there were a lot of families who don’t have that type of support wanted to do s/t to give back and help people and help families who are fighting a fight they didn’t want or ask for.”

“The other part of the foundation is focused on trying to find a cure for childhood cancer,” Ahrendt said. “It’s a disease becoming more and more prevalent and just doesn’t get the funding it needs or deserves.”

To read more about Landon and his battle or to keep up with the L3 Foundation and learn how to help, like their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LiveLoveLandon?fref=photo

Landon

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Photos from Saturday

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