Reese Baker to serve as the run’s patient champion

Reese Baker enjoys school, being a part of her local soccer team and playing with her dolls. But since her diagnosis of b-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in October 2015, those things all look a little bit different.

She is now home-schooled, can’t physically play with her soccer team and her favorite doll doesn’t have hair.

Using grant money from the UC Davis Children’s Miracle Network (CMN), Reese received an American Girl doll without hair.

“We wanted to give Reese a doll that was as distinctive as she is, “ said Jacquelyn Kay-Mills, director of development at Children’s Miracle Network at UC Davis.

“CMN grants offer amazing opportunities to change a life, and this program is an amazing example of that.”

The Wilton native, who is serving as next weekend’s Credit Union SACTOWN Run patient champion, had minor symptoms – fatigue, low-grade fever, aches in her arms and legs, and bruising – before her ALL diagnosis. Her parents, Lisa and Chris, knew something was wrong.

After a blood test revealed her platelets were critically low, Reese was admitted to UC Davis Children’s Hospital. She then was diagnosed and began treatment within the span of a week.

“When you receive a diagnosis like this for your child, it’s very sudden,” Lisa Baker said.
“Everything in our lives changed.”

“Reese feels very supported — and we do, too.

“For as sad as this is, there have been many positives.”

One thing that’s helped keep a smile on Reese’s face is her doll, Tracy.

“These dolls bring a sense of normalcy to treatment and bridges something they’re familiar with from before their diagnosis to their current situation,” said Ellen Meuchel, child life specialist at UC Davis Children’s Hospital.

“Often times, kids don’t have the words to express the complex feelings that come along with cancer, but the dolls are an outlet they’re comfortable with.”

Reese and her doll, Tracy, will be participating in the Miracle Mile as part of the seventh annual Credit Union SACTOWN Run set for April 2.

The Credit Union SACTOWN Run helps raise money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, which includes Sacramento’s UC Davis Children’s Hospital. The SACTOWN event emulates the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run held in Washington, D.C. on the same day.

The race, organized by the Sacramento Running Association and sponsored by local credit unions, features a picturesque start and finish near the state Capitol.

Credit Unions for Kids is the brand under which America’s credit unions and affiliated organizations fundraise for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. To date, credit unions have raised more than $100 million since the introduction of the CU4Kids program back in 1996.

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is an affiliation of children’s hospitals throughout the country. Each year these non-profit hospitals provide state-of-the-art care, cutting edge research and preventative health education.

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals treat more than 17 million patients each year, including 98 percent of all children needing heart or lung transplants and 88 percent of all children with cancer.

The SACTOWN 5k run begins at 8:00 a.m. and the 10-mile race begins at 8:40 a.m. The UC Davis Children’s Hospital Miracle Mile is set for 7:30 a.m.

Registration is available at Cost for the 5k is $40 through March 31 and $45 from April 1-2. The 10-miler costs $60 through March 31 and $65 from April 1-2.

The Miracle Mile is free to kids 12 and under until March 31 and $10 at packet pickup and on race day. The cost for adults is $10 until March 31 and $15 at packet pickup and on race day.

The SACTOWN Run continues the 2017 Buzz Oates Run SAC Series, a yearlong competition for area runners of all ages and abilities. For more information, visit

The 5k race includes the Credit Union Team competition, with the lowest combined time for all three team members determining the winner.

The event serves as USA Track & Field’s Pacific Association Ten-Mile Championship.

The Sacramento Running Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding ways to encourage people of all ages and abilities to run. The SRA is committed to developing new, quality running events that appeal to a broad variety of runners.

Other SRA events include the recently completed Super Sunday Run, the Gold Rush 50k on May 14, the inaugural Gold Country Half on June 11, the Capital Cross Challenge on October 7, the Run the Parkway on November 4 and the 35th annual California International Marathon on December 3.