Mark Hyde and a crew of friends traveled to the northernmost point on the continent to raise pediatric cancer awareness.

PHOTO COURTESY OF MARK HYDE - Juliet 'Juju' Hyde. Mark Hyde, an international tax consultant, lost his daughter to cancer, but he didn't lose his drive to find help find a cure and raise awareness.

In September, Hyde, who lives in Belmont, Calif., traveled up the West Coast to the Arctic Ocean to show his fatherly love and honor his daughter, Juliet "Juju" Hyde, who died at age 5 in March 2016.

Hyde made a stop in Beaverton, specifically to interview Dr. Charles Keller, who is a leading pediatric cancer researcher and has an innovative lab at Beaverton's Children's Cancer Therapy Development Institute.

"It's inspiring to see the love that Mark has for Juliet — to bring awareness to childhood cancer," Keller said. "It is such a bold adventure and I am grateful to be a part of the team's journey. He's an incredible guy and it is an incredible group."

Though the journey has been successful in spreading awareness, Mark said, "Honestly, what I really wish for most of all is that she was still with us and that none of this happened in the first place."

He added, "What we hope to accomplish is to help make it so that fewer children and their families — and maybe someday none at all — will have to go through the terrible cycle of sickness, diagnosis, rounds of treatment and hoping and praying every day that there will be a happy ending … to say nothing of not having to go through the unimaginable pain of an unthinkable ending. If we can feel like we have contributed to this, we will have made Juju very proud of us."

Hyde called his multi-car road rally "Juju's Journey — An Arctic Odyssey to End Childhood Cancer."

"The name of the project and the logo itself do immortalize her — in a way — but in and of itself, it is a difficult reminder that we will no longer have the privilege of caring for her ourselves," Hyde said.

He added, "Juju's life was cut too short, and her family and friends refuse to idly watch as more children and families are affected by this awful disease. This is why we partnered with the St. Baldrick's Foundation and set a goal of raising more than $250,000 for the pediatric cancer research."

Hyde led a crew of more than 10 people from Sept. 7 through Sept. 24 to journey from Juju's hometown in the San Francisco Bay Area through Canada and Alaska, ending at the northernmost edge of North America — in Utqiagvik, Alaska, formerly known as Barrow — on the Arctic Ocean. They committed to journeying to the "end of the Earth" to work for a cure.

The crew traveled more than 5,000 miles in 17 days, despite encountering snowy and icy conditions as they proceeded north.

Hyde wants to create global awareness about pediatric cancer.

"The project's mission is structured not only around raising funds for pediatric cancer research — an immediate goal — but also around raising awareness of the national (global) research funding inequity and why the current therapies available are inadequate," Hyde said. "Most folks don't realize that less than 4 percent of federal funding is directed to pediatric and, when you layer in private funding, the overall share for pediatric declines to less than 1 percent. When you also consider that roughly 90 percent of childhood cancer survivors experience lifelong health impacts arising from their chemotherapy, radiation or other treatment, it can be shocking knowledge." 

Hyde and the crew met up with Hyde's wife Shauna and their 9-year-old daughter Helena during the Alaska leg of the journey.

"I could go on for a very long time about Juliet. She was an amazing little girl," Mark Hyde said of his late younger daughter. "She was very smart, very eager and driven to do fun things, self-styled and very pretty. She was an adept and fearless climber at an early age, she was skilled on a scooter well before she was 2 — when she was barely over the handlebars. I am incredibly proud to be the father of the little girl who she became in her short years."

By Mandy Feder-Sawyer
Reporter, Beaverton Valley Times
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