Triathlon Not Just A Race For Determined Fifth-Grader

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Diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor a year ago, Ellie Kavalieros, 11, will compete in a kids triathlon this weekend.

In an age when many kids resist physical activity, it is encouraging to see the frenetic scene at the University of North Florida this weekend.

More than 1,000 children are signed up for the First Coast Kids Triathlon.

There are the triathlon veterans, intent on improving their times. There are first-timers, including 19 kids in a childhood obesity program who spent six months preparing for this.

And there is Ellie Kavalieros.

Ellie, 11, is a fifth-grader at Jacksonville Country Day School, the oldest of Nick and Lisa Kavalieros’ three girls. She always has been an active kid. But about a year ago, when her left arm and leg started feeling weak, she ended up in the emergency room.

Her mother remembers looking at the test results, having no idea what the images meant, then looking at the three doctors.

Their faces said it all.

Ellie had Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, an inoperable brain tumor and one of the deadliest pediatric cancers.

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